What's going on with The Walking Dead that AMC's hit series has shed two showrunners in just three seasons?
That's what a fan asked series creator and Executive Producer Robert Kirkman today during a Reddit AMA session. Kirkman's answer, while hardly as exciting as the questioner may have hoped, was fairly in-depth, and gave credit where it was due to both Frank Darabont (the original showrunner, who established the look of the show after developing it for television) and Glen Mazzara, who took over after Darabont's ouster.
That said, Kirkman said he agreed with the decisions by AMC.
Check out his full statement below, including a dig at The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, the ActiVision game starring Merle and Daryl Dixon; it was one of a number of jabs at the game (the least popular of the video games created based on The Walking Dead so far) Kirkman made during the AMA.
Our SHOWRUNNER musical chair routine is not entirely uncommon in television. There have been countless shows that have changed showrunners and some even from season to season. It's unfortunate that this show exists under such a microscope and the behind the scenes drama has been pushed into the spotlight... but it's a SMALL price to pay for the success that we've had, so I'll take it.
It would be wrong for me to go into any details on the various changeovers because for the most part I was really only on the sidelines during the changes. Although, I will state for the record that I do agree with AMC's decisions in each case and strongly feel they were only acting with the shows best interests in mind.
I think Frank set the show up with a solid foundation to build upon and gave us a directing and visual style for the show that we still use because it's superb and has been a big part of what makes us stand apart on television. This show wouldn't exist without him and his work on the pilot still holds up as one of our strongest episodes. We were lucky to have a director of his caliber involved in the show from day one.
Glen was a shot in the arm that the show needed in its second season and his instincts to move story up and really heighten the pace at times was a welcome addition to the show. The level of energy he brought to the show is something we still try to maintain. Personally, Glen was very good to me as a novice television writer and I feel that he was a great teacher whose lessons I still use often on the show. I owe him a lot.
Scott Gimple is an absolute rock star. I think that looking back at Season 4 as a whole it is by far our strongest season. The show is intense when it needs to be and slows down and digs into the interpersonal character drama in ways we never achieved without him. Scott's been integral to the show since he came on board for season 2 and honestly knows more about this world than I do. (And he definitely remembers the ins and outs of the comic book WAY better than me).
I think we'll keep him.
Most importantly, none of them were responsible for SURVIVAL INSTINCT.