Frank Darabont Steps Down As Showrunner on THE WALKING DEAD

     July 26, 2011


In an incredibly surprising development, series creator/executive producer/director Frank Darabont has stepped down as showrunner on AMC’s smash hit The Walking Dead. This comes as a huge shock, as Darabont was just present on Friday at the show’s Comic-Con panel and seemed fine. Moreover, the show is currently in the middle of production on season two. There’s speculation that he may be off the show completely, but talks are still ongoing about him staying on in some capacity. Hit the jump for more.

Frank_DarabontBehind-the-scenes, the show hasn’t been without its fair share of drama. Back in December it was reported that he had fired the show’s writing staff from season one and was planning on hiring freelancers for the second season. He ultimately decided against that course of action, and brought on Glen Mazzara as executive producer and his number two. It’s unclear if Mazzara will now assume showrunning duties.

Needless to say, the show seems to be in a bit of a state of limbo at the moment, though Deadline’s report states that these developments have not affected the ongoing production. I’d be shocked if Darabont doesn’t stay on in at least some capacity, as the show has been his labor of love. Not to mention the fact that season one of The Walking Dead drew ginormous ratings and positive critical reaction. Maybe the stress of producing 13 episodes for the second season as opposed to season one’s 6 got to him? The reports states that Darabont never quite got used to the grueling schedule of TV production having hailed from feature films. Hopefully we’ll know more about the show’s future soon. Season two premieres on AMC October 16th.


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  • BodhiGrrl

    Anyone else hoping that he’s picking up The Dark Tower, now that Ron Howard is out? My heart will leap with joy if this is his reason.

  • LEM

    He had previously made comments that AMC or whoever was trying to slash the show budget. He didn’t seem happy that they were going to ask for the same quality while seemingly punishing a hit show with a smaller budget. This is bad news for the show but hopefully they can resolve it before the show is affected.

  • Scared for Movies

    Does anyone else think that the main poster the Walking Dead uses is stupid? One road jammed with traffic and the other has zero cars on it at all? In a zombie apocalypse I just don’t see people following traffic laws anymore. Just a thought. Not a huge fan of the show but it’s surprising to see Darabont leave after it being such a huge success. If AMC is meddling that’s pretty dumb.

    • Ludotek

      Are you serious? One road is full of cars because everybody was trying to leave the city and the other road is empty because nobody is coming into the city. They’re all trying to get away. How did you not get that? Plus, there is a barrier separating the two sides of the road. They tend to, you know, block cars from going onto the other side.

      • Gus

        I’ve got to agree with Scared for Movies here. No one would follow traffic laws if their families’ lives were on the line. As for these barriers you speak of Ludotek, there has to be a gap in them for emergency vehicles to be able to make u turns if necessary. I also think people are smart enough to realize that there’s a traffic jam on one side of the road, and fucking zombies all around. Don’t you think maybe someone would take an exit to get on the wrong side of the road to get away faster?

    • Tmo

      How is it dumb the ones who didnt follow traffic laws and got on the other side would have gotten away so why would their car be stranded on the road. Think things through before you post sir.

    • wev

      You sad strange person. It implies the panic of everyone trying to get out and no one trying to get in and is a great powerful image to see and is used to exaggerate that idea (simple cinematic concepts really), plus you say oh they would screw the laws of the road but im pretty sure there would be police and a very strong military presence to keep the laws in place and furthermore…zombies are not real so in this case it doesn’t really effect the overall drama and story of this show so get over it. In conclusion…you are wrong! lol.

      Why you even on this page if your not a fan anyway? How is that trolling going for you…

      • Scared for Movies

        You sad strange person? No need to get so offended I was only asking a simple question. Yeah the police sure look like they had everything handled real well in the city too right? People would not follow the road rules and if you think police or military could stop them in that situation your foolish. I could have came on here and trolled way harder on the Walking Dead if I had chosen to do so. Instead I ask a logical question and you get all sensitive. All you had to say was “It implies the panic of everyone trying to get out and no one trying to get in and is a great powerful image to see and is used to exaggerate that idea.” Leave out all the other unintelligent rambling and idiocy. When a zombie apocalypse occurs and one road is jammed with traffic the logical explanation is that both roads would get jammed with traffic. I was expressing the realism of the situation. In that conclusion your wrong. What’s more is that you need to grow up and not get so offended by other people’s opinions. Next time when someone asks a logical question you shouldn’t accuse them of trolling. But apparently the idea of logic confuses you. So here’s some trolling for you. Walking Dead sucks. Yeah that old folks home episode was the greatest episodic television event ever. It was awesome when they chopped that zombie’s body 40 times for gore. Your as lame as the show you defend. I could go on all day about the inferiority of this show. This show is absolute shit and if it didn’t have zombies no one would think it was anything special. In fact it would have been canceled by now. And yet all I keep hearing is that it’s about the human characters and about how people are the real thing to be feared. Maybe it is but they haven’t developed any character to the point that I care about them. Who cares if some irredeemable asshole dies. By the way if I was trolling earlier I wouldn’t have left any comments about Darabont or AMC and I would have put up more questions then just the one. That said, it’s my opinion and you have your own and I hope you enjoy season 2.

    • grittymcgritterson

      Nah, thats just I-75 on a wednesday. The Zombie part was just curveball

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  • Northern Star

    I’ll wait to see how Season Two plays out, but I’m starting to suspect my initial feelings that you can’t do a week-by-week zombie epic were correct… if George Romero had swallowed his pride and made his original ‘Day of the Dead’ script, we wouldn’t need a zombie series, Romero wrote the rule book on modern zombies, and even ‘The Walking Dead’ hasn’t added anything original to it!

  • Edward Lee

    Is this REALLY all that much of a surprise? Wasn’t either the network or Darabont really pushing for a greater avante garde (sp?) approach (insert “cheaper”) with Season 2 anyway? Why wouldn’t he bail if he wasn’t going to have all that much to do with the season anyway? It just seems like this is a real non-starter to anyone with a brain … if you’ll pardon the pun.

  • junierizzle

    I like the show a lot but let’s be honest, the rest of the season wasn’t as great as the pilot. It’s no surprise that Darabont was the one that directed the pilot. Now that he isn’t going to be involved at all it may doom the show. I hope not though.

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  • Aeonstrife

    It is too soon to call it. The rumor last season was that Darabont fired his entire writing staff for bad writing, when the truth was that he only fired two guys for not writing fast enough. Darabont however was able to come to the rescue to deliver the writing on time. Right now Darabont leaving is just a rumor with no source, the truth probably is that Darabont is just pissed, but AMC won’t go on without having him come back. This leak could even be Darabont manipulating things behind the scenes. The first season of The Walking Dead was amazing. The second season is said to be even better. I can’t see Darabont not coming back if the second season gets as high ratings as the first season.

  • Dogg

    I just watched Stake Land and they got it so right that I’m forever ruined for apocalyptic survival movies. (Cars as weapons? There’s an idea). Walking Dead’s brand of contrived BS is going to seem that much weaker no matter how many head smashing trailers they throw at me. It was never the head smashing that was the freakin’ problem. If you die from a mindless, shambling zombies that took an hour to walk up a hillside you’ve been camped atop for weeks, you deserved to die. Or be fired if you wrote that crap. That’s the problem.

    • Agent_Black

      Whilst i agree with the 1st half of your comment the latter part is pure fantasy. Zombie fans always talk about how they would survive the apocalypse with their zombie killing skills, where they would get weapons from and how many of these slow walkers they would take out but this all simply delusion based on sitting at home watching too many movies.

      If a real zombie plague broke out and even if the walkers were really slow, you would still die. In the real world you wouldn’t really have the cut throat in you to suddenly smash heads, chop them up and dispose of these walking corpses in numerous exotic fashions. You would be holed up in your bedroom (as per usual) shitting yourself.

  • Idris

    the writing on every episode barring the quite simply perfect pilot (written fully by frank himself) was POOR by AMC standards.

    the remaining five episodes in the series declined, the writing (and acting) in the second episode especially was terrible, which could be blamed on bad directing of course, as he could have helped the actors a bit.

    anyway, if darabont stays on, and he has new writing staff, ill have high hopes. but the walking dead is by a mile AMC’s worst written show, so its not like ill be biting my fingernails to find out what happens.


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