‘Walking Dead’ Season 3 Delays & Comic Creator Behind Showrunner Firing

Published 2 years ago by

walking dead season 3 glen mazzara robert kirman Walking Dead Season 3 Delays & Comic Creator Behind Showrunner Firing

Now that The Walking Dead season 3 is in full swing, it’s time for the annual “Why the showrunner got fired” explanation to occur. This year, Glen Mazzara receives the honorary pink slip from AMC. Here’s why it happened.

According to show sources who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, it was Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman, not AMC, who was behind Glen Mazzara “leaving” the series. But that’s not the only reason. Production delays from a lack of material to shoot, resulting in the show being shut down, were also cited as another reason for Mazzara’s exit.

When news of Mazzara’s departure from the series was originally announced, it was said that the two parties, AMC and Mazzara, disagreed about the direction the series should head in subsequent seasons. Now, it appears that Robert Kirkman may have played a part in Mazzara leaving the series. Because after all, he did write the source material upon which the show is based:

“I believe Robert wants to maintain a certain amount of his control, and AMC needs Robert for the fan base.”

But Kirkman wasn’t the only one unhappy with Mazzara’s vision, or performance. According to a source inside the show, several other producers on the series weren’t on board for the direction Mazzara wanted to take the series – and then there were the production delays.

During The Walking Dead season 3, part 2 (which audiences have yet to see), production was shut down several times, with Mazzara’s inability to run the show cited as the reason.

Unlike most networks, AMC doesn’t have the corporate backing like ABC (Disney), NBC (Universal), CBS (Viacom), or even FX (News Corps.); they have been battling a financial war ever since they agreed to pay Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner $30 million for the final three seasons of that show. So when production on The Walking Dead – which is already riddled with budget-cuts – gets shut down, and results in rescheduled shooting, someone has to foot that bill.

walking dead season 3 survivors Walking Dead Season 3 Delays & Comic Creator Behind Showrunner Firing

In the wake of Mazzara’s departure, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and The Shield creator Shawn Ryan – both of whom have previously worked with Mazzara on The Shield – came to his defense, referring to AMC as, among other things, unfriendly to showrunners. The firing of the first Walking Dead showrunner, Frank Darabont, was certainly a sign of that. But could Mazzara’s case be different than Darabont’s?

After all, Robert Kirkman did create The Walking Dead comic, so his vision about where to take the series would technically be the truest to the story. Then again, film and television has had enough great ideas fail because they didn’t have the right person (showrunner) to bring that idea to television in the best way for the medium. Four years ago, nobody would have thought that a zombie series would even be on the air, let alone for it to be sweeping television ratings. Is this because of Kirkman or Darabont? Most would say Darabont.

walking dead season 3 rick Walking Dead Season 3 Delays & Comic Creator Behind Showrunner Firing

However, after the style, tone and format of the entire series is locked in during its first season – arguably the most difficult part – Kirkman could now have greater input in the storyline, since the show now has the foundation it needed to be successful. Without Darabont, Kirkman wouldn’t have a successful show to have any input on. Again, how many other successfully zombie shows have there been previously? So, again, is it Kirkman or Darabont who made Walking Dead successful?  It’s both.

Somehow Robert Kirkman (who once thought Charlie Sheen would make a great zombie in the series) and Glenn Mazzara are getting pulled into a fight which likely started at the top, with AMC. Now that The Walking Dead is a hit and AMC has the series’ original creator on salary, the only thing they need to do is to find a showrunner who can steer a shit that has already been created, proven successful, and is somewhat following an already-laid plan. But perhaps it’s the plan that was the issue all along.

The Walking Dead can continue forever, essentially – or at least that’s Kirkman’s plan for the comics. Only a few television series ever get to 10 seasons (average is 4 seasons), so when to end The Walking Dead could become an issue – not to mention the construction of season 4 and 5. When Mazzara originally took over The Walking Dead, he said that he had a set story to tell from the comics, meaning that there’s a definite end. To end a series, the characters and story have to be wrapped up enough to give viewers a satisfying conclusion. Since the comic book is still running well-beyond the TV series, planning and foreshadowing must be done. But if you’re a struggling cable network and have a show that beats out network television ratings, perhaps talking about an ending is still a bit taboo this early on.

walking dead season 3 zombie Walking Dead Season 3 Delays & Comic Creator Behind Showrunner Firing

Then again, Mazzara’s vision about where to take the series may not be the issue at all. As was previously stated, production on the The Walking Dead season 3.5 was shut down due to lack of material. Considering the fact that the third season of the show has much more material to work with than previous seasons, having to pay for production delays for a lack of scripts may be a bit disconcerting to those looking beyond all the thrills and chills (and death) that season 3  holds for the survivors. For those who have read the comic, the tales awaiting the TWD in seasons 4 and 5 are going to be much more difficult to handle that what has come previously. But again, it won’t be for a lack of material.

Whether or not it was AMC, Kirkman or Mazzara himself that played the biggest role in his departure, the fact is that The Walking Dead – one of the most fan-driven series on television –  is once again thrown into the limelight for firing its showrunner.  And although most fans will be wondering if the series will still be able to maintain its quality for seasons to come, the real question is: who will be brave enough to take on television’s most unreliable job?

[poll id=”497″]

The Walking Dead season 3, part 2, premieres February 17 on AMC

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
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  1. “the only thing they need to do is to find a showrunner who can steer a s***”

    Definitely a useful skill.

    • I have more trouble doing that than I care to admit.
      Oh, wait I just did. 😉

      • I’m reading this on the toilet, and the relevant parallels here are just downright spooky! Still, it was probably a typo. HEY MODERATOR! There are young children here! They want to read about zombie kill fests from their favorite show, and just because that gruesome program in question frequently uses such salty language amidst spurts of gore doesn’t mean those kids should be subjected to your foul-mouthed rantings! That’s just f**ked up, man! Kids are very impressionable! You’ll warp their fragile little minds! I’m so offended I could just ship myself with rage! Well that’s all. Time to wash up.

  2. Second paragraph under the picture of Rick, you wrote s***. I assume you meant ship. Just trying to help!

  3. The first half of season three was great, of course it had some minor mistakes, but nothing that takes away from the overall quality of the show.

    That said, I am hoping AMC hires someone who can bring the same intensity and quality to the second half of the season, (and 4th if he makes it past this one) and can work under the limitations he may or may not have.

    Here’s to hoping TWD succeeds!

  4. with a show that is as successful as this, one would think that they would have advertisers knocking down their doors….

    • I am sure there are a good amount of add dollars but with out backing from a larger parent company it will always be a struggle to have the budget required for a show like this.

  5. Interesting faux pas in this article…”the only thing they need to do is to find a showrunner who can steer a s*** that has already been created”

  6. And next year’s Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher will be….

    • LOL

  7. I’ve talked a lot of c**p about AMC and the problems they’ve had but if this is true (production delays) Mazzera had to go…
    Shutting down production and starting again is awfully expensive, especially when working with different labor unions and location shooting. It’s not like the entire show is filmed in a studio. Middlebury is a real town that they shoot in so starting and stopping isn’t cheap.
    All together though it’s too bad that this show has so many problems. We’ve never seen anything like it on TV before and I’d like it to continue as long as possible…

    • it’s woodbury and i believe they shoot elsewhere nearby


  9. Can someone explain what they mean by lack of material?
    Don’t they have script writers and the comic series to follow? How can they not have material to work with?

    Should I be worried about this show’s future? It’s my favorite show on TV and it’s ratings killer, but I had no idea about AMC’s money issues. Could TWD get cancelled?

    • What they mean by lack of material is there was no scripts ready to shoot, that’s what…

      I never thought a Romero-esque zombie saga for television was a viable prospect – there’s only so many areas to be explored in an apocalyptic setting and only so many times to creatively kill zombies onscreen before it gets repetitive and boring – and I believe my instincts have proven correct, for ‘The Walking Dead’ could just as easily be a reference to the show’s writing staff, the show had a simply brilliant feature-length pilot episode and a strong first regular episode… after that it went off the cliff and has never recovered!

      It’s just a shame George Romero didn’t have as strong a concept and script for ‘Day of the Dead’ as he did for ‘Night…’ and ‘Dawn…’, then we would have got the definitive zombie saga to end all potential zombie sagas, and the likes of ‘The Walking Dead’ would be left floundering in Romero’s wake.

      • Wait… You haven’t liked the show since the second episode, and yet you are still watching and participating in fan-driven conversation? You just like telling people they have poor taste or something? Safe bet that most on this forum actually like the show and care what happens next. So why are you here? I also disagree with you. This show proves that there can be enough story and character work to propel a compelling zombie series, which is hopefully why people like it so much. It may yet fail or fall to pieces, but it hasn’t yet. It’s a gold mine of story possibilities right now.

      • Clearly you haven’t read Kirkman’s stories. He’s taken the idea of a zombie apocalypse much farther than any film has and examined ideas and issues that have never come into play in any film. If those ideas are eventually portrayed on the show, viewers are in for a treat.

        • I am already pleasantly surprised at the inventiveness in a genre I had gotten completely tired of. The mass infection, farmers keeping zombie relatives in the barn, the gov hoping to prove that they still think, intentional infection, scientific experiments, prisoner interrogation tool… Yet the most compelling part of the show to me is not the zombies but the characters and their circumstances. As it should be, in my mind. Zombie stories bore the hell out of me most of the time. They are obvious, simple, unscary shock fests with no lasting value or creative thinking at play. Thanks, Kirkman.

  10. All that I hope is that the writer that wrote the majority of season two has been fired by now. season one was great, season two was disappointing, but season three’s brought the show back up to what it used to be. If all goes to hell, end season three early and write a good final season…no reason dragging out the show if they’re already having idea problems-end on a high note.
    ooon another note though, there’s still something missing in the show to me and idk what it is…Don’t get me wrong I like the show.

  11. wow first darabont now mazzara all this craziness and yet the show is still breaking records and is frikin awesome

  12. This is the most poorly written article I’ve ever read. Did you go to college? Take an English class? I hope you have another source of income.

    • Screenrant articles usually have at least one case of spelling or grammar mistakes…you learn to live with it. :)

    • Geez, was it really that bad?

    • Damn, ease up there! So sorry you were offended by the free entertainment news delivered daily to your house and finger tips. If you don’t like the offerings here then just piss off, don’t be a jerk to someone who is offering their work to you free of charge and with good nature. So what about typos? This info is cranked out constantly for we who read and enjoy it. Get what you can or just get the hell out. There’s enough negativity out there. As for whoever wrote this article: thanks for the update and have a groovy day. Most of us liked reading what you wrote, but only this guy spoke up. Lame, huh? Peace.

      • Well said Josh. Part of the reason i like Screenrant so much is because the articles are well-written and non-judgmental, and the commentors in the chat section are much more respectful than on other sites like AICN. I see some of that attitude is creeping in here now, sadly. Still a great site though.

    • You obviously don’t read very much then, John. One spelling error, which was a funny one, you’re easily offended.

  13. BTW, this article paints Kirkman as a bit of a turd. I’m now in the middle of reading the Appendium 2 and after the prison and Woodbury saga the story begins to get very, very sloooowwww. I would hope that he realizes that what is great in graphic novel text bubbles is not always great on screen and that changes NEED to be made.

    I’m enjoying the slightly different path the show is taking with Woodbury and the Governor. I don’t think a straight translation of the comic to the screen of his character would work (see Watchmen).

    • Yup, I stopped collecting the comics when they hit that slow point. I don’t know, I like the series, but geez, if this kind of ship is going to keep happening, I’d rather (like another poster said) that the show end on high note.

    • Trade paperback or comics. The Gov story may have been a Graphic Novel but not the regular series.

      As for the differences between book and TV. Honestly there were other slow areas and or sections of the story that could have been considered/made slow instead of the intro of the Gov.

      Case in point Rick taking phone calls. That was a great story within itself that appears to have only been barely touched in the show.

      There was no reason to have the Gov portrayed as he is in the show. He should have just been a mean SOB from the begining.

  14. I have always appreciated the storytelling of comic books, and the freedom one has when they can extend an idea for long periods of time is one of the major advantages comics have always had. That said television is not like comics, and at some point there has to be some end game plan.

    • Oops, I put it in the word SPOILER in the brackets….

    • See I disagree. I think (if the actors pulled it off) the Rick split with his son and the phone could have been VERY intense and worthy if done like the books.

      There is no reason to have a ‘bad’ throughout the season. There are so many small stories within the overall story of the books (The Hunters for example) that could easily have taken 3 to 4 episodes to complete. Some less some more.

      Im not saying having a bad is bad however even in the books there was some drama in between the Gov and his appearances.

      Granted they dont walk the exact path of the comics however they appear to loose for my tastes when they can be a bit closer without being a page for page.

  15. I’m surprised at the few (even) comments that characterize this show as being formulaic. I don’t think there’s been much repetition at all so far, only widening the scope of the story and developing it. This show is not at all akin to Dexter (which of course becomes totally formulaic with it’s revolving “big bads”) and should be able to thrive for several more seasons at least. That doesn’t, of course, mean that it won’t get screwed up somehow but I think the show is still getting better. Let’s wait til we see what the next showrunner has to offer before chiming the death knell for this awesome series.

    PS: No love for Day of the Dead, really? Totally underrated imo.

  16. I was looking forward to season 3 after season 2 ended. I have seen the first half of season 3 and I am a little disappointed. You can definitely tell the creative differences between Darabont and Mazzera. The only good thing to come out of season 3 was the death of Lori, I hated her anyways. Andrea would have never have fallen for the governor the way she did, what is wrong with her? And Daryl got captured to easily. I guess he is not the hot shot we all thought he was. Anyways, so far, season 3 is the worst!

    • We don’t even know how exactly Daryl got captured, so how can you say it happened too easily? For all we know he could of had 10+ people on him…
      In my eyes there has always been the “big bad” so far, season 1 was the walkers, season 2 was Shane, and now it’s the governor.

      • So the Walkers are no longer a Big Bad?

        I akin the Big Bad to Justified. So far they have (IMO) been one of the only shows able to pull this off very successful. This includes intros, back stories, beginning and end, etc. of the big bad.

        To equate the Walkers and or Shane as the big bad (IMO) is just grasping.

        As for Daryl my opinion is he wanted/needed to get captured. He wants to verify his brothers existence and reasoning.

        • Good thoughts, and I agree about Justified. Last season was especially effective with adversaries and back stories. I can see what the other poster meant though, that the primary focus of struggle or villainy has moved around over the years and landed on the gov. As for Daryl getting himself captured, that’s a very clever suggestion, whereas a scene of his super-humanly implausible bad-assery would only diminish the shows realism and believability.

          That’s one of the dangers to the quality of the show, like how pretty much everybody ALWAYS scores an easy, barely aimed headshot these days. I’m all for them being motivated learners, and developing the boy into a killer is wise, but how come he has no trouble with so many perfect shots? It takes more than motivation and a hard winter of LIMITED AMMO to become a casual crack shot!

          • i disagree… ive been a perfect shot sense i was 6… my family isnt a family of great shooters… ricks a cop… if i had him i bet i could skull a zombie from 100 yards in less than 5 shots… even now i could do it in one with my gun… give me a rifle and they dont stand a chance if i can see them and the winds not too strong… some people are just born good a shooting… not everyone is an average joe… the kids tougher than any kid ive ever met why couldnt he hit a walker in the face nearly point blank in one shot?

            • I see your point, though it sounds suspiciously like swagger more than logic… I am willing to accept that the kid is a good shot, even a great shot, but after being perpetually low on ammo, and skipping only a winter of limited practice, I dislike how absolutely infallible he is a killing zombies. He doesn’t just know how to kill one at point blank range when they aren’t moving too much. He’s hip-shooting distant shufflers by the handful with barely any focus at all. It’s almost like he’s playing a game with heavy auto aiming and all he has to do is point vaguely in the zombie’s direction to put him down, with one shot only, every time. I don’t think he could do that, nor everybody else who seems incapable of less than a confident bullseye in that group. At the risk of being rude, I’m dubious of your own semi supernatural talents. Of course that’s more because of the Internet than anything I know about you, which is nothing at all. …except you sound like a better shot than me, so any duel of honor you may concoct I preemptively decline. Save yer bullets for the coming apacolypse, or to fend off Obama when he comes to steal your guns in the night!

  17. I think Darabont’s vision of the show was over rated. His name did more for the show than his actual storytelling, for gods sake he is responsible for the CDC episodes and the first half of season 2. To me, it seems that the second half of season 2 was just spent trying to get the pieces together to fix the mess that Darabont created.
    I am torn between siding with Kurt Sutter on the issue (LOVE SOA) and Kirkman. Hell Kirkman is the creator and it really should be his baby. I don’t how many movies/ TV shows I have seen where they took someone els’es idea only to completely ruin it (most Stephan King movies), the only real example of the show being BETTER than the source material I can think of is Dexter.

    • Well I guess I know better than to ever read Dexter then…. That show insults me with its slap-dash laziness. Unlike the WD, it feels like a different writer does each episode, and they come in every week with no plan. As though there is NO plan, NO structure, and NO attempt to create a cohesive and relevant narrative. They don’t work hard enough on that show, and it shows. Its like weak episodes/seasons of 24. Where is the creative effort? Doesn’t an actual time slot and fan base obligate some extraordinary effort and impressive final product? How many shows earn or deserve their existence? Anyone answering “Fringe” had better be making an ironic joke!

  18. ” a show runner that can steer a s*** ” ?! Does ANYONE proofread these things ?

    • Really bugged the hell out of ya, didn’t it? Some people got a chuckle out of it, but not you man! Someone should tie you to a chair and make you watch them fold a map up the wrong way. You would lose your mind. Maybe even have a ship-fit. (See, I am still enjoying it. Maybe take your meds before you get online, or just don’t speak up.)

      • Josh you seem to have taken it as your personal duty to comment on this matter. Do you really think its that funny? The typo still hasn’t been corrected

        • Nope. Not that funny. But just as you have a right to sputter your offense, I have a right to find typo indignance a bit silly, and as a guest here, its also ungracious and terse. You go ahead and be the typo police though, since it’s evidently “your personal duty to comment on this matter” as well as comment on my commenting about somebody else’s comment… So much irony! Y’know something…. I think it just finally got funny. Well, kinda. Whatever happened here, I am gonna get ove it somehow. How about you?

          It’s a rare comment thread that doesn’t devolve into insults and bickering. Try to contribute something interesting or worthwhile, like the author of the article did, for example…

          • You left the “r” of over, the typo police are so gonna get you…

              • What we gots to do, nega, is plays it off like iz all jus Ebonics! That way we’z cool, ‘stead of ignant o jus bad at the typin. Persnlly, dem ‘ombies soundz spooky as hell…

  19. Lost interest in this show after the boredom of the early S2 eps, not watched any since. The continual killing of main characters since then hasn’t exactly tempted me back. And what’s this garbage with the Asian girl and zombies on leashes? Seriously?

    • Some really interesting characters have died at times when I didn’t see the need, as opposed to the ever-increasing need to kill off Lori… I wish some were still around, but at least they have genuinely sold me on the idea that almost no one is safe. (Pretty sure Rick and his son are not going anywhere). As for the chained zombies, it’s rather interesting so far: it’s been implied that she knew them before they turned, which makes the ongoing theme of whether any personality/memory/feelings remain in a zombie more interesting. When the gov keeps their heads it makes me wonder about those questions, and not just about his sanity. She uses them as camouflage, essentially, which is a cool twist. They have no jaws or arms, so they can’t presumably get her. Many elements have evolved and played out since you stopped watching, some too fast. Maybe now that you don’t have to wait a week in between eps you will consider picking up where you left off. That season ended very big and strong, while everything since has been fast and furious and mostly very interesting. It on netflix now, if that helps, and I reccomend it highly!

    • She is not asian

      • I’m sure he meant to say oriental! :)

  20. steer a s***

  21. awesome

  22. I came here to learn more about the firing, instead I read a terrible article. First off learn proper grammar. You had so many run-ons, missed commas, and the easiest thing of them all, spelling! What a joke. Despite the terrible grammar you are also surprisingly biased. You say, “Without Darabont, Kirkman wouldn’t have a successful show to have any input on.” Then you go on to ask who had the bigger part in TWD’s success. Well it’s pretty obvious what you think. What a horrendous article, and thank you for ruining my experience on this website. Now I know to never take an article from screenshit seriously.

    • You’re really getting your panties in a wad over grammar while reading about a show that revolves around zombies? This isn’t exactly an academic or scholarly topic..

      • @Corey Actually my lecturer is in the process of publishing an article on The Walking Dead atm. So… Yeah,sort of is an academic topic.

  23. it seems those two guys who are bickering will eventually ruin the show for the cast and the fans. why can’t the guys who worked together to start a show, finished the show as a team? why ruin the show because you can’t get the comic story line into the show? big deal, if the comic story line isnt in the show, the characters are. i never read the comic because i never knew it existed intill i started watching the tv show and still i dont want to ruin the characters if i read the comic. the comic will give too much away and it will ruin the experience of the show for me. i think those two guys who started the walking dead show should patch up there differences and appoligize and work as a team to keep the walking dead show going. those two guys remind me of siblings fighting over a new toy. they are supposed to share, but in the end, one of them wants the toy to themselves and an arguement starts and then fighting and then it gets ugly. the cast and the fans will be hurt if those two guys dont work out there differences… is the story really the problem or is it the money? money makes people selfish and ugly, and i hope its not the money that’s the problem. if its about the comic story line, and that’s what they are fighting over, and that’s just plain sad and embarassing for everyone…

  24. i cant wait for season 4 of the walking dead. im a huge rick grimmer fan. i cant wait to see the little one walking and talking in season 4. will the little girl survive now that the prison is gone? the little girl was safer in the prison.

    is the little girl’s father shane cause she looks like shane more then rick?

    • Um, the prison’s not gone. And who’s Rick “Grimmer”?

  25. Lol, you may want to spell check your 10th paragraph. I think you meant steer a SHIP, not SHI T, right? 😉

    “the only thing they need to do is to find a showrunner who can steer a shi t that has already been created,”