Say it ain't so, Frank! It looks like fan-favorite filmmaker Frank Darabont is stepping down as showrunner of AMC's hit zombie TV show The Walking Dead. More after the jump.
According to Deadline, who nabbed this shocking exclusive scoop... "The news is even more surprising given the fact that Darabont was on hand for Walking Dead's Comic-Con panel just this past Friday alongside fellow executive producers Robert Kirkman, on whose graphic novel the series is based, and Gale Anne Hurd and appeared excited about Season 2. There is speculation that Darabont might be off the show completely, but I hear talks are still ongoing about him possibly staying on in some capacity. Darabont, who spent five years trying to get a TV version of the zombie saga off the ground and wrote and directed the AMC pilot, hails from the feature world, and I hear that he never quite adjusted to the daily grind of producing a TV series. Last December, he considered forgoing a writing staff for Season 2 and assigning scripts to freelancers but ultimately went for the traditional writing staff model recommended by the network and tapped Glen Mazzara as an executive producer and his No. 2. It is unclear if The Shield alum Mazzara, who has showrunning experience, would now step in to run Walking Dead. I hear that the behind-the-scenes turmoil has not affected production on the show, which continues as scheduled. Season 2 of Walking Dead is slated to premiere Oct. 16."
Whatever one's feelings towards The Walking Dead, there's no question in my mind that much of its success is directly attributable to Darabont's involvement, and the close relationships he has with Nicotero, Hurd and the cast. The news that he could soon be gone is unsettling to say the least -- especially to those of us who've long wanted a weekly high-quality zombie series on television.