Frank Darabont Steps Down as ‘The Walking Dead’ Showrunner [UPDATED]

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 9:54 am,

AMC has released a statement regarding Darabont’s departure. You can read it in its entirety below.

Although he gave no indication of the move while discussing season 2 of The Walking Dead at Comic Con 2011, acclaimed filmmaker Frank Darabont has announced he will be leaving his post as showrunner on the AMC zombie-fest.

At SDCC, Darabont was joined by much of The Walking Dead cast as well as executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and executive producer/creator Robert Kirkman. During the panel discussion Darabont spoke about the upcoming season and appeared excited for what was to come – making today’s announcement all the more surprising.

It’s unclear in what capacity Darabont will now serve on The Walking Dead – or if he’s walking away from the show altogether. At the moment, it is believed the filmmaker will stay with the program in one form or another.

As far as reasons for the departure go, the speculation is that, as a filmmaker, Darabont’s personal style did not take to the daily rigors of running such a large television program.

Darabont made headlines late last year for firing the The Walking Dead’s writing staff, just after the first season ended, and using freelance writers to compose season two episodes. That decision was later reversed – with a new staff of writers being brought-on with the addition of Glenn Mazzara as executive producer. For the time being, it’s unclear if this chain of events played a part in Darabont stepping down.

The concern now shifts to the actual program, however. As writer and director of the pilot episode, Darabont was able to strike critical and commercial gold with The Walking Dead. Now, the worry for fans is that without Darabont behind the proverbial wheel, where will The Walking Dead end up in terms of quality and how will his absence affect the show’s chances of landing heavy-hitters like Stephen King and Joe Hill for writing duties on future episodes?

the walking dead zombie1 Frank Darabont Steps Down as The Walking Dead Showrunner [UPDATED]

Since filming on the second season is well underway, it’s unlikely that too many repercussions will be felt until a potential season 3.

So, who will fill Darabont’s shoes? Well, right now, the likely choice would be the man Darabont himself picked to be his second in command – Glen Mazzara. Other than having experience with The Walking Dead cast and crew, Mazzara has also served as showrunner on FX’s The Shield, which may be an enormous asset to a show that suddenly finds itself rudderless.

Stay with Screen Rant for more details on Darabont and The Walking Dead, as they become available.

Update: You can read AMC’s statement regarding Darabont’s departure below:

The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara, writer and executive producer, is expanding his responsibilities to assume the role of showrunner. AMC is grateful to executive producer, writer and pilot director Frank Darabont whose contributions to the success of The Walking Dead are innumerable. We continue to discuss his ongoing role with the series.

Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead graphic novels, executive producer and writer on the series, will remain in this role and will continue to steward the brand. Gale Anne Hurd will remain in her role as executive producer. The production continues on schedule for an Oct. 16 premiere.


The Walking Dead returns Sunday, October 16 @10pm on AMC.

Source: Deadline

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  1. Wow! Very disappointing news. I’m sure we’ll find out more later. But this is sort of like Gene Roddenberry stepping away from Star Trek in the 3rd season to concentrate on other projects. Even more so because Darabont also directed as well. I just hope the staff can keep up the quality and not rely on stock TV plots.

  2. This news blows why ..why …why

  3. watttt!~!!!!!!!!

  4. Yikes bad news, the show went way downhill after the pilot and now Darabont is gone.

    • Show went down after the pilot? ii

    • I agree 100%. I understand why some people loved all 6 episodes but I thought the last 3 were average at best. So I thought replacing the writers and Darabont taking on an even larger role this year was great news. So now I’m concerned. My advice, stick to the source material and it things will be fine.

  5. nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

  6. This is good news, i was worried he was gona end up working on this show for years. He needs to get back to making movies! Im sure it’ll still be of a good quality

  7. I’m not surprised, how often do filmmakers even commit to one season of a show? I just want to know what his next film project will be. ;-)

  8. the mans fantastic, but lets not forget the source material here. If they have some talented writers using that as their guide the show will be fine.

  9. This sounds like HBO and their ability to kill really popular series. Word is floating that AMC is wanting to go the cheap route and has but a lot of the budget for the series. This is the death knell for any series that has a large special effects or CGI budget and this series has both.

  10. Oh stop panicking. Everyone just relax it will be fine.
    As long as the writers keep writing, Greg keeps on with the FX and Kirkman stays as producer then anyone with some passion will be able to direct. And no it didnt go down hill after the pilot, the subsequent eps were plot and character building, something that doesnt really happen in the Zombie / dead films….

  11. Just don’t let the Falling Skies show runners take over. Then we’ll be getting unnecessary sappiness and cheese.

    • Agreeed. I tried giving that show a shot (saw the first 5 episodes), but man is it disappointing.

  12. When down the walking dead 3

  13. Saw season 2…. sucked…. wondered why and went on google to find out. Now I know :(