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‘WALKING DEAD’ SHOCKER: Frank Darabont Steps Down As Showrunner

By | Tuesday July 26, 2011 @ 5:58pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: This is a quite a bombshell — I have learned that Frank Darabont, the creator, executive producer and director of AMC’s smash hit The Walking Dead, is stepping down as showrunner of the series, which is now in production on its upcoming second season. The news is even more surprising given the fact that Darabont was on hand for Walking Dead’s Comic-Con panel just this past Friday alongside fellow executive producers Robert Kirkman, on whose graphic novel the series is based, and Gale Anne Hurd and appeared excited about Season 2. There is speculation that Darabont might be off the show completely, but I hear talks are still ongoing about him possibly staying on in some capacity. Darabont, who spent five years trying to get a TV version of the zombie saga off the ground and wrote and directed the AMC pilot, hails from the feature world, and I hear that he never quite adjusted to the daily grind of producing a TV series. Last December, he considered forgoing a writing staff for Season 2 and assigning scripts to freelancers but ultimately went for the traditional writing staff model recommended by the network and tapped Glen Mazzara as an executive producer and his No. 2. It is unclear if The Shield alum Mazzara, who has showrunning experience, would now step in to run Walking Dead. I hear that the behind-the-scenes turmoil has not affected production on … Read More »

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EMMYS: ‘Walking Dead’s Frank Darabont

By | Thursday June 23, 2011 @ 3:00am PDT

Frank Darabont spent five fruitless years of pitching an idea for a zombie television series. But he’s back on Hollywood’s A-list after The Walking Dead, which he created from Robert Kirkman’s original comic book, generated higher ratings in its first season than any of AMC’s previous original shows. Now Darabont has two Hollywood Guild award nominations to go with his three Oscar nods for writing and directing The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. He talks about his longtime love affair with the undead with Deadline TV Contributor Ray Richmond:

DEADLINE: Are you such a fan of zombies because you work in Hollywood?
FRANK DARABONT: Yes, there are plenty of zombies working in the industry. But I’ve always wanted to tackle the zombie mythos since I was a kid and saw Night of the Living Dead — the original black-and-white version — at a midnight screening. It was just a niche thing then. But I think in the past five years it’s become far more widely embraced. Now it’s like we’re riding the crest of a wave.

DEADLINE: But Walking Dead wasn’t an easy sell.
DARABONT: Oh god no. I’d been trying to set this thing up for five years before AMC took it. It was the first time I’d tried to set up a television series, and it sure seemed like a long time to be out there without a deal. It was considered pretty different and cutting-edge through most of that pitching process. My mantra had been that people were waiting for a really good zombie show. It takes a rare bit of courage to take a … Read More »

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