AMC’s The Walking Dead is having some troubles. At this point you’ve probably heard that the show fired Glen Mazzara, their second showrunner in just over 18 months. It’s strange to keep rocking the boat on what is the most successful show on the network, not to mention one of the biggest shows on all of television. Even though the network spins the split as amicable, reports have comic book creator and series producer Robert Kirkman playing a big role in the departure.
In the aftermath of Mazzara’s firing, showrunners Shawn Ryan (Last Resort) and Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy) — both of whom worked with Mazzara on FX’s The Shield — jumped to Mazzara’s defense, saying that AMC kowtows to Kirkman. Ryan tweeted, “It’s a real question now why good showrunners should sell to AMC.” Sutter was less restrained with his displeasure, launching into a profanity-laden tirade against the network, describing it as “run by small-minded, bottom-line thinkers who have no appreciation or gratitude for the effort of it’s creative personnel.” Sutter was kinder when it came to the subject of Kirkman himself, describing the Walking Dead creator as “an amazing visual artist and a graphic artist [but] knows very little about TV, and the reins keep going back to him in this process, and he doesn’t know how to run a show.”
One source tells The Hollywood Reporter that “I believe Robert wants to maintain a certain amount of his control, and AMC needs Robert for the fan base.” It makes sense that Kirkman feels protective of the show. After all, it’s his baby, his creation, and he has a certain vision for the series. He reportedly clashed with Mazzara over the direction of the show, though, in all fairness, Kirkman reportedly wasn’t the only one who butted heads with Mazzara. One anonymous source told THR that the production of the show was halted “several times” this season due to a lack of material.
Instead of getting involved in further muckraking, Kirkman’s only response has been a tweet that says “[Sutter] is brilliant and Sons is my favorite show on TV. Still, it’s upsetting to see him ranting about things he knows nothing about.”
The Walking Dead will return for the second half of its third season on February 10th on AMC.