The Walking Dead may be a record-breaking hit for AMC, but the creative team behind the hour-long drama and network execs haven’t always gotten along. In fact, the show — which is currently in the second half of its fourth season — has had three showrunners since it debuted with an eight-episode first season on Halloween night 2010.
When we quizzed Viggle LIVE! users on how many showrunners the zombie-centric drama has had, roughly 59 percent of those who voted correctly answered three. However, 31 percent of responders thought the show only had two showrunners, and 10 percent were under the impression that there’s only been one person in charge of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and co.’s fate for the past few seasons.
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Yes, it’s unusual for a show that’s not even four years old to have had three different showrunners, but allow us to explain why that is. When the show premiered in 2010, Frank Darabont was the head cheese. He developed the concept for TWD alongside comic book creator Robert Kirkman, but was fired by AMC after just one season over budget concerns and the network’s treatment of the cast and crew, who were said to be “overworked and underpaid.”
Late last year Frank sued AMC, claiming he’s entitled to all profits from TWD (and its after show, Talking Dead) since he developed the concept. The lawsuit is still pending.
Glen Mazzara took over the reigns in Season 2, but was abruptly let go after Season 3. Both Glen and AMC released statements calling the split amicable, but there were rumors that Glen was fired because he had a different idea for the show's creative direction and level of violence. He later hinted that during his tenure as showrunner he was pressured to kill off baby Judith, Rick’s daughter who, coincidentally, may have been killed in the Season 4 midseason finale.
Are you surprised that The Walking Dead has had three showrunners? Vote below!
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