Frank Darabont Leaves ‘The Walking Dead’

The acclaimed director unexpectedly steps down as the showrunner as the second season continues production.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

At the San Diego Comic-Con International, Frank Darabont and the cast of "The Walking Dead" spoke passionately about the upcoming season and they seemed poised for a long run together.

However, a surprising report at Deadline indicates that Darabont has stepped down from his position as the showrunner of "The Walking Dead." The report indicates that Darabont may remain with the series in some capacity, but the stated reason for his departure was that Darabont "never quite adjusted to the daily grind of producing a TV series."

One of the reasons that Darabont's sudden exit has caught observers off guard is that he spent almost five years shopping "The Walking Dead" around as a TV series before finding a home for it on AMC. The original comic book series was created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, but Darabont has received the lion's share of the credit for adapting "The Walking Dead" into one of the most successful shows on cable.

Publicly, Darabont has previously had nothing but positive things to say about his experience on the series or his creative relationship with Kirkman and AMC. The only time that Darabont expressed any kind of disappointment with the series was at a Hollywood Reporter roundtable in which he indicated that AMC was considering large budget cuts for the second season.

Although Darabont's departure has now been confirmed by other media outlets, there's no word yet as to who the new showrunner will be. Glen Mazzara ("The Shield") is the second ranking executive producer on the show and he has held that position before on other TV series, making him the most likely successor to Darabont.

The second season of "The Walking Dead" is still in production, although it's not clear how many episodes have been shot since filming began last month. Given the lead time for the series, all of the scripts for season 2 may have already been finished.

"The Walking Dead" will return to AMC on Sunday, October 16.

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