Two big pieces of news in the world of "The Walking Dead" come courtesy of one press release issued by AMC today. The first is not a shocker: the mega-popular series has been renewed for a fourth season. What is a surprise is the revelation that showrunner Glen Mazzara, who famously replaced Frank Darabont after the latter couldn't come to terms with AMC, has decided to step down from his position after this season commences.
The reason appears to be a difference of opinion in terms of where the show is headed. Rather perplexing, as the series continues to smash ratings and delight fans and critics alike. Very intriguing indeed.
Here's the press release:
Today, AMC announces the season 4 pick-up of The Walking Dead. AMC also jointly announces with Glen Mazzara today that for future seasons, the two parties have mutually decided to part ways. Glen guided the series creatively for seasons 2 and 3. AMC is grateful for his hard work. We are both proud of our shared success. Both parties acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion about where the show should go moving forward, and conclude that it is best to part ways. This decision is amicable and Glen will remain on for post-production on [the remainder of the third season, which starts in February] as showrunner and executive producer.Ē
Mazzara had this to say: "My time as showrunner on The Walking Dead has been an amazing experience, but after I finish season 3, itís time to move on. I have told the stories I wanted to tell and connected with our fans on a level that I never imagined. It doesnít get much better than that. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey."
And here is executive producer/writer Robert Kirkman's statement on the matter: "I am in full support of both AMC and Glen Mazzara in the decision they have come to and believe the parties came to this decision in the best interest of the future of the show. I thank Glen for his hard work and appreciate his many contributions to The Walking Dead and look forward to working with him as we complete post production on Season 3. I am also excited to begin work on another spectacular season of this show that I know means so much to so many people. This show has always been the result of a wide range of extremely talented men and women working tirelessly to produce their best work collectively. I believe the future is bright for The Walking Dead. Thank you to the fans for your continued support."
Perhaps there's more to this than a simple difference of opinion; AMC is notoriously difficult to deal with when it comes to negotiating with their producers (both "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" were at one point in danger of going off the air thanks to rough negotiations). Is this an issue over money? Or are the two sides really so at odds over where the series should be headed that they can't work together any longer?
"The Walking Dead" continues season 3 on February 10th. And it needs a showrunner.