A mere four days after an enthusiastic Frank Darabont appeared at Comic-Con International in San Diego to preview the second season of “The Walking Dead,” Deadline reports he’s stepped down as showrunner of the hit AMC drama.
While the news has been confirmed by “Entertainment Weekly,” “The Hollywood Reporter” and “Variety,” it remains unclear whether Darabont will remain with the series in another capacity. Comic Book Resources is reaching out to AMC for further details.
The departure of Darabont, who spent five years bringing the acclaimed horror comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard to television, comes as filming is under way in Georgia for the 13-episode second season. It premieres October 16 on AMC.
Deadline suggests the Oscar-nominated Darabont, best known as the director of “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” “never quite adjusted to the daily grind of producing a TV series.” The website points to conflicting reports from December that Darabont considered dropping a writing staff in favor of freelancers following the departure of his No. 2, Charles “Chic” Eglee, who moved on to become an executive producer and writer for FX’s adaptation of “Powers.”
However, as recently as May, Darabont expressed concerns that network cuts to the second-season budget of “The Walking Dead, “will affect the show creatively…in a negative way.”
Deadline adds that the shakeup apparently hasn’t affected the production of the show’s second season, which is about seven weeks into filming. It seems likely that “The Shield” alum Glen Mazzara, who replaced Eglee on “The Walking Dead,” will step in as showrunner. But that, like most of the other details, remains unclear.