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In a shocking piece of news, it turns out that Frank
Darabont did not walk away from THE WALKING DEAD, but was in fact fired by AMC.
According to The Hollywood Reporter,
the WALKING DEAD cast is “scared” and the crew crushed after Darabont was
canned while working to fix an episode that a director turned in with unusable
In Atlanta, where production on THE WALKING DEAD’s second
season had been underway since June, the cast was brought to a lunch meeting
with AMC VP of scripted programming Ben Davis, who confirmed that Darabont was
out. The crew was briefed separately. One insider says those gathered were stunned
at “the duplicity of AMC” for having used Darabont to promote the show at
Comic-Con before firing him. And they were upset about the lack of explanation,
being simply told, “This isn’t working.”
Darabont hasn’t spoken to the media about his departure, and
through his lawyer, the filmmaker has said he has no interest in talking to the
press. There also have been no public comments from the cast, and a source says
AMC has been “terrorizing” them and their representatives to discourage them
from speaking out on Darabont’s behalf. “They’re scared,” confirms another
insider. “They’re on a zombie show. They are all really easy to kill off.”
Sources say last fall, even before the first WALKING DEAD
episode aired, AMC announced that it would be cutting the show’s second-season
budget per episode by about $650,000, from $3.4 million to $2.75 million, which
was another major bone of contention. Apparently, AMC’s budget-cutting upset
Darabont. “Frank doesn’t like to see the cast and crew overworked and underpaid,”
says a show insider. As recently as the end of May, with the show’s second
season ready to go into production, Darabont seemed to be holding out hope that
AMC would change its mind.
“Creatively, I have no complaints thus far,” he said at a
Hollywood Reporter roundtable. “But I believe if they do move ahead with what
they’re talking about, it will affect the show creatively…in a negative way.
Which just strikes me as odd. If you have an asset, why would you punish it?”
Despite THE WALKING DEAD’s success, AMC stuck to its
original position on the second-season budget, even though the network
instructed Darabont to produce 13 episodes for a second season, up from six for
the first season, for less money. After dismissing Darabont, AMC has since
replaced him with executive
producer Glen Mazzara.
This is simply a sad, sad state of affairs. We’ll let you
know any further details we find out.
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