Around the start of season two, AMC and the show’s creator, Frank Darabont, had a very public falling out over the network’s demands to slash the budget and Darabont’s belief that this would negatively impact the show.
He was replaced by one of the series’ other producers, Glen Mazzara, who guided the show through its second season (working off the plan left by Darabont) and was solely responsible for the current third season, which will return with its final eight episodes in February of 2013. Mazzara, will be leaving the series at the end of this season, and once again, it sounds like AMC’s meddling is the cause of a showrunner’s departure. According to the network, in their press release announcing the shake up:
“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.“
Given the show’s success with fans and critics alike, it’s hard to imagine why the network would want to change anything. The show has been a ratings juggernaut this season. It’s the highest rated scripted show on television, besting not only other cable channels, but the major networks as well. Shouldn’t the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doctrine be in effect?
Mazzara said in his own statement:
“My time as showrunner on ‘The Walking Dead’ has been an amazing experience, but after I finish season 3, it’s 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 doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey.”
Which doesn’t really line up with the joint statement about creative differences, but I guess he’s just being nice.