It’s a good-news, bad-news scenario for fans of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
The cable outlet renewed the hit zombie series for a fourth season Friday morning, but show runner Glen Mazzara will not be at the helm.
“My time as show runner on ‘The Walking Dead’ has been an amazing experience, but after I finish Season 3, it’s time to move on,” Mazzara said in a statement. “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.”
A statement released by AMC said that there is “a difference of opinion about where the show should go” and had concluded that it would be best to part ways.
Although the statement carefully noted that the parting was mutual and amicable, it’s difficult not to recall the high-profile 2011 departure of series creator Frank Darabont, the news of which broke just days after Darabont and many cast members had appeared on a raucous and celebratory panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con International.
Mazzara was tapped to take the reins of the series and guided the show to record-breaking ratings, crafting a season that was designed to emphasize the threat posed by other humans in a post-apocalyptic world — a threat embodied by the Governor, played by English actor David Morrissey.
Audiences responded to the story line, which also introduced fan-favorite character Michonne (Danai Gurira), a fierce female warrior who is wildly popular among readers of Robert Kirkman’s “Walking Dead” comic. The October season premiere drew 10.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen, making it the biggest telecast of any drama series in basic-cable history.
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd issued this statement: “I am appreciative and grateful to Glen for his hard work on ‘The Walking Dead.’ I am supportive of AMC and Glen’s decision and know that the series is in great hands with one of the most talented and dedicated casts and crews in the business. I look forward to the show’s continued success.”
Kirkman, too, released a statement Friday. It follows in full.
“I am in full support of both AMC and Glen Mazzara in the decision they have come to and believe the parties came to this decision in the best interest of the future of the show. I thank Glen for his hard work and appreciate his many contributions to ‘The Walking Dead’ and look forward to working with him as we complete post production on Season 3. I am also excited to begin work on another spectacular season of this show that I know means so much to so many people. This show has always been the result of a wide range of extremely talented men and women working tirelessly to produce their best work collectively. I believe the future is bright for ‘The Walking Dead.’ Thank you to the fans for your continued support.”
– Gina McIntyre
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