We reported a few weeks ago that THE WALKING DEAD showrunner Frank Darabont had exited the show suddenly, and was soon replaced by his second in command Glenn Mazzara. What happened? Nobody knew. Until now...
According to THR, it seems the acclaimed filmmaker didn't jump, he was pushed. Speaking to one of those mysterious 'insiders' we always hear about, the cast were apparently called to a meeting where they were informed that their showrunner was out, with no further information other than "this isn't working".
It's thought that Darabont might have fought for his show a little too hard, rallying against the AMC network's recent slashing of the season 2 budget to accommodate MAD MEN's shockingly inflated costs. THE WALKING DEAD was still expected to deliver the same quality as the first season's batch of episodes, but on a considerably lower dime. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter recently, an insider on the show backed up the theory, “Frank doesn’t like the cast and crew overworked and underpaid." Yeah, pretty understandable.
As for the cast, it seems that they're understandably nervous about speaking out regarding Darabont's departure, with the show insider claiming that they feel "terrorized" by AMC, and pointing out quite rightly that "they're on a zombie show. They are all easy to kill off." Again, pretty understandable.
Well, I'm personally far less comfortable about this situation than when we though Darabont left on his own accord. It's dangerous when the suits get too heavily involved in the running of the show, and when they start making creative decisions it almost always shows in the end product. And as much as I admire MAD MEN, I'm horrified that AMC would happily sacrifice two of their most critically acclaimed shows (the excellent BREAKING BAD is also a victim of cuts) in order to facilitate a fifth season.
Will THE WALKING DEAD season 2 suffer due to AMC's incessant meddling? We'll have to wait until October to find out.
Are AMC right to slash THE WALKING DEAD's budget to give us more MAD MEN? Will Frank Darabont's absence be felt? Let us know with your comments below.