As reported earlier by Deadline, Frank Darabont has stepped down as showrunner on 'The Walking Dead' TV series. The show, which is about to enter its second season, has been a tremendous success for television network AMC.
At first glance, this is a HUGE shocker. Especially when you consider that Darabont was just at Comic-Con for the 'The Walking Dead' panel with writer/exec. producer Robert Kirkman. However, if you read between the lines, this isn't a big surprise.
Darabont has hinted about budget cuts taking away from the quality of the show. He's also expressed the desire to outsource/freelance writing on episodes. Typically that happens for a few reasons: 1, someone is tired of writing so much; 2, someone has way too much to do and can't get it all done; 3, someone wants to move on and do other things (or has other things in the works), 4, someone doesn't like the direction the show is headed.
It's possible that Darabont, due to budget restrictions, might not like the way the show is headed. And I'm guessing that's part of it. But more likely, it's a combination of the first three reasons. Developing and handling the day-to-day operations of a TV show is incredibly demanding. And for a guy that typically has done films, it doesn't come naturally.
In fact, it's quite normal for someone to work hard to get something rolling, bring along a #2, and then exit gracefully. And that appears to be exactly what is happening here. Darabont's #2, Glen Mazzara, is rumored to be taking over.
And if Darabont is leaving because he doesn't think the show will live up to his expectations, that's fine too. He's putting himself in the best possible light. He worked hard for 5 years to bring this incredible series to life, cranked out a phenomenal first season, prepped an apprentice, and is moving on. His reputation won't take a hit if the show goes downhill.
I'm guessing everything will be just fine. Change is good. Let's just hope that Darabont moves on to something else that we'll love just as much as 'The Walking Dead.'