TV News: Frank Darabont Steps Down From ‘The Walking Dead;’ Premiere Date Announced
CHICAGO – While the entire story has not been fully revealed, the fact still remains that AMC’s hottest series has lost its showrunner. Frank Darabont, head writer and producer of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” as well as director of films such as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” has walked away from the hit zombie series after only one completed season.
The second season of “The Walking Dead,” set to release this coming fall, is currently under production. Glen Mazzara will take over in place of Darabont as the show’s zombie ringleader. Mazzara is not new to “The Walking Dead” having written episode five of season one entitled “Wildfire.” He has also worked in television as a producer on “The Shield” “Life” and “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.”
While the loss of Darabont could be a blow to the series, Joel Stillerman, AMC’s VP of original programming, has said that the season two premiere is still set for October 16 and there should be no delay in the series’ production.
In other AMC news, “Breaking Bad” has seen ratings growth in the first two episodes of season four, which premiered July 17. While the positive viewership is always good news, AMC has not yet renewed the meth dealers for a fifth season, a decision that will need to be made soon as the actors’ renewal options are up in August.
In “Mad Men” news, it was announced Wednesday at the Television Critics Association panel that next season’s premiere will be directed by Don Draper himself. Jon Hamm is set to get behind the camera for the first time in his career when the series starts production on their fifth season August 8.
Finally on your AMC round-up, the series “Hell on Wheels” has officially been given a release date of November 6, 2011. AMC network executives are optimistic the western can find positive ratings after the success of the 2006 miniseries “Broken Trail.”
By TIM MARTENS