Over the last few months, AMC's relationship with its top showrunners has seeming been disharmonious. From the protracted "Mad Men" negotiations with Matthew Weiner to the more recent battles over the future of "Breaking Bad" with Vince Gilligan and Sony Pictures TV. But the most notable incident for genre fans was the sudden departure of Frank Darabont from "The Walking Dead" last month after Comic-Con.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the exact reasoning behind AMC's decision to dismiss Darabont isn't known. However, the story notes that the network and Darabont constantly clashed over the budget for the show, with the suggestion that the budget was cut as much as $650,000 per episode for the second season.
"Frank doesn't like to see the cast and crew overworked and underpaid," noted an unidentified source affiliated with the show. Back in May, Darabont publicly lamented the planned budget cuts by AMC and spoke openly about his hope that AMC would reconsider.
The latest report notes that footage from a second season episode (helmed by a director new to the series) came back with a large amount of unusable footage; which gave AMC the excuse to remove Darabont from the show. From the network's perspective, Darabont "never adjusted to the TV schedule." But those closest to the show argue that Darabont's approach as a filmmaker was what helped make "The Walking Dead" one of the breakout hits of last fall.
The story also states that the cast and crew were caught off guard by the decision, especially since AMC relied so heavily on Darabont to promote the show at Comic-Con the week before.
If you're a fan of the series, you should definitely read the entire story at The Hollywood Reporter. But as that article also notes, most of the talented cast and crew remain intact for the second season of "The Walking Dead." Viewers may not even notice a difference until the third season rolls around.
What do you think about the turmoil at AMC and "The Walking Dead"? Rip flesh from bone in the comment section below!
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