"The Walking Dead" will return to AMC for a fourth season, but showrunner Glen Mazzara won't be coming with it. Following his succesful Season 3 of the hit AMC series, he and the network have decided to part ways.
"My time as showrunner on 'The Walking Dead' has been an amazing experience, but after I finish season 3, it's time to move on," he 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."
AMC writes, "[T]he two parties have mutually decided to part ways." In a joint statement from AMC and Mazzara, they write, "Both parties acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion about where the show should be going forward, and conclude that it is best to part ways."
Mazzara will stay on as showrunner and executive producer for the rest of post-production on Season 3, but will then be done with the show entirely. After that, he will start looking for his next project.
"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," "Walking Dead" creator Robert Kirkman said in a statement. "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."
The statement continued, "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. Â I believe the future is bright for 'The Walking Dead.' Â Thank you to the fans for your continued support."
Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd also released a 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."
This situation is reminiscent of former showrunner Frank Darabont's departure from the series in July 2011. Darabont and AMC reportedly didn't see eye-to-eye about the direction the show was headed in, and Mazzara was hired to replace him part-way through Season 2. Mazzara had already been involved with the show, having written the Season 1 episode "Wildfire" and coming on board as executive producer and Darabont's second-in-command in February 2011. It remains to be seen who will replace Mazzara as showrunner.
"The Walking Dead" returns to AMC for the second half of Season 3 on Feb. 10.