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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Darabont Fired from "The Walking Dead"

Jason Meehan

It's been a few weeks since we first we reported on AMC's startling announcement; that the mastermind behind the network's most talked about series was leaving the project. While cast and crew scramble to continue production on season two of "The Walking Dead" reports are starting to surface that the director/producer did not step down willingly, he was fired by the network.

This seems to clear some of the confusion about why series creator Frank Darabont was at SDCC promoting his show just days before being ousted. It also paints the cable channel in a very sinister light. Stories are emerging of a cast meeting that took place with AMC executives on location in Atlanta where the crew was informed of the dismissal. "This isn't working," was all that was said to explain the cable channel's decision.

Other reports indicate that the network has been very aggressive in discouraging the crew from making any comments. So far Darabont and the cast have maintained a strict silence about this news and the severe impact it could have on future success for the show, apparently out of fear for their own futures on the series.

So why did AMC toss the man responsible for the highest rated show on their network? All indications point to huge budget cuts that Darabont was adamantly against. The second round of "The Walking Dead", which is to have twice as many episodes, is being made using less than was spent to create the shorter premiere season.

What is to become of the drama that has single handedly brought zombies out of the horror genre and into the main stream? For starters we may hear more and see less of the undead just to save some bucks on makeup. Severed fingers are still crossed, but if the show falters, AMC will have a tidal wave of angry fans turning off their HDTV's (and cheering Darabont's name.)

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