AMC has ordered a fourth season of the zombie thriller THE WALKING DEAD, but Glen Mazzara, the executive producer who took over the series early in the second season and guided it to unprecedented ratings this season, will not be back next year.
This despite the fact that TWD won the adults 18-49 demo over every other show (cable and broadcast) on TV this fall. In fact, TWD is the first cable show to outright beat the broadcast programs in its time slot.
You can blame that old standby, creative differences. (TWD seems especially vulnerable to that condition, since original show-runner Frank Darabont barely lasted into the second season.) The network cited “differences of opinion” on where the show should go next.
Mazzara will be sticking around to finish postproduction on season three before moving on. The second half of the third season kicks off on Feb. 10. About 15.2 million people watched the Dec. 2 midseason finale of TWD — a number most broadcast execs would eat human flesh to attain.
The parting of the ways appears to be civil, if not exactly amicable.
AMC and Mazzara issued a joint statement declaring:
“AMC also jointly announces with Glen Mazzara today that for future seasons, the two parties have mutually decided to part ways. Both parties acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion about where the show should go moving forward, and conclude that it is best to part ways.”
Mazzara also added, on his own:
“My time as showrunner on The Walking Dead has been an amazing experience, but after I finish season 3, it’s time to move on. I have told the stories I wanted to tell and connected with our fans on a level that I never imagined. It doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey.”
No replacement show-runner has been named.