Frank Darabont Fired from ‘The Walking Dead’

Frank Darabont, champion and show-runner of ‘The Walking Dead’ has been fired from the series by the network bosses at AMC. Will Season Two suffer without Darabont at the helm, or will the show become less talky and more zombie-kill-y? Only time will tell.

The Hollywood Reporter has a lengthy, well-researched piece about Darabont’s dismissal from the show. From the looks of it, Darabont wasn’t happy with AMC cutting the operating budget of each episode. The exact figures and reasons can be found in the THR report.

The report also cites a myriad of disagreements that AMC has had with the creators of ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad’. However, those two shows are both owned by other studios (Lionsgate and Sony respectively) while ‘The Walking Dead’ is purely an AMC property. ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ have the power of big studios behind them fighting their battles. With ‘The Walking Dead’, AMC can do whatever it wants and not worry about a third party stepping in.

Personally, I liked the direction that Darabont was taking ‘The Walking Dead’. It seems that everyone else expected a shoot-’em-up zombie skull-crushing show, but instead got a series full of well-rounded characters who just so happened to be stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. It was indeed an interesting way to approach a genre that has almost reached an unsustainable saturation point.

Honestly, I’m scared for Season Two. I wouldn’t be surprised if the show switches tone and style drastically. As we know from numerous reports, Darabont was deeply invested in the first season. He was involved with almost every facet of each episode, and now he’s gone. It’s going to be difficult to keep the same spirit of the show without him there.

Is this the beginning of the end for ‘The Walking Dead’? Or do you see this as a good thing? I know many people thought that the show was too slow and too melodramatic. So, this may be the jumpstart those people needed to get interested in the show again. What do you think?


  1. I actually understand AMC’s move here…Darabont is an excellent writer, but he’s also a well-known control freak and perfectionist – which works fine in the movie world, where you have a lot of time to put together a two hour film, but work horribly on TV, where you need to churn out “X” number of episodes in a limited amount of teim.

    As noted in the Hollywood Reporter article, the series is in good hands with Glen Mazzara, and they’re essentially following the storyline from the comics anyway, so keeping a “big gun” like Darabont doesn’t make much sense – especially since he’s constantly re-writing and re-shooting everyone’s work (this was a problem during Season 1 as well…so this isn’t an instance of re-work on one episode causing him to be canned).

    I know everyone’s going to rush to Darabont’s defense here, since writers are usually seen as the “good guys” and the “suits” that run the studio are usually seen as the bad guys, and maybe that IS the case…but I can see where AMC is coming from.

  2. With the budget cuts, wanting to spend less on seaons 2 (more episodes) then season one (less episodes) also came AMC exec “notes/ides” on how to accomplish this.

    Things like shooting indoors 50% of the time and only hearing zombies instead of seeing them to save on makeup. With Darabont gone to fight for the shows soul, who is left to make those fights? Kirkman? It’s not looking good at all.
    The show provided record ratings for the network, but when those ratings are brought up as a reason not to scale back or cut budget, the response was something like “ratings will not be a factor in deciding the budget”.

    It’s like the execs are fully flexing their balls simply for the sake of this being the first hit show in their line-up that they can do such flexing. It’s a big shame, I had really high hopes for this show.

  3. Frankly, I think that AMC just bit off more than it could chew in producing a series of this scope, which is filmed almost entirely on location and changes settings every episode, plus has a lot of expensive makeup and CG visual effects. Even though it’s a ratings hit, it’s also undoubtedly a huge money drain.

  4. Josh is 100% right about AMC being in over their heads. I’d bet a pay network like HBO or SHOWTIME would gladly partner with AMC and pick up the costs of the show in exhange for first-run rights and a cut of home video profits. Maybe HBO throws them a bone in return – like syndication rights for True Blood and/or Game of Thrones.

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