AMC has announced that their hugely popular zombie drama The Walking Dead will be returning for a fourth season. That was no surprise to the show’s millions of fans. What was a surprise, however, was the announcement that showrunner Glen Mazzara will be leaving the show after completion of post-production on season three. Creative differences between Mazzara and AMC were cited as the reason for the showrunner’s imminent departure. In a statement, AMC said the decision to part ways was amicable:
“AMC is grateful for his hard work. We are both proud of our shared success. 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’s departure is unexpected because “The Walking Dead” is AMC’s biggest hit, and the show has grown in popularity since Mazzara took over as showrunner (from series creator Frank Darabont) in the middle of season two. The show’s third season premiere had a record breaking 10.9 million viewers—and that number doesn’t even include the millions of viewers who recorded the show or watch the second broadcast later that evening. It was a 50 percent increase over the number of viewer for the show’s season two premiere. With the amazing success of season three, Walking Dead has become one of the biggest hits on television, and it’s the first basic cable show to lead the fall ratings among television’s most valued demographic—adults 18-49 year old.
In a statement about his departure, Mazzara thanked the show’s fans and said that it was time to move on:
“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.”
If you’re not one of the millions of fans who are hooked on The Walking Dead, you may be wondering what your missing. The show tells the story of survivors living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. The show’s main character Rick Grimes, a former Sheriff’s deputy, wakes from a coma only to find that the world has been taken over by zombies. He then discovers that his wife and son are missing. He finds his wife, son and his best friend at a camp near the city of Atlanta; and they form a small group of survivors who struggle to find safe places to live away from the throngs of zombie walkers. The group must also deal with other human survivors who, in their fight for survival, can be as dangerous as the walkers.
While there hasn’t been an announcement regarding a new showrunner for season four, executive producer Robert Kirkman—author of the comic book series on which The Walking Dead is based—believes the future for the show looks bright:
“I am in full support of both AMC and Glen Mazzara in the decision they have come to and believe the parties came to this decision in the best interest of the future of the show…This show has always been the result of a wide range of extremely talented men and women working tirelessly to produce their best work collectively. I believe the future is bright for ‘The Walking Dead.’ Thank you to the fans for your continued support.”