Shocker: Walking Dead Renewed For Season 4, Showrunner Glen Mazzara Steps Down Over 'Difference of Opinion'

WalkingDeadbAMC has renewed The Walking Dead for a fourth season, but there’s a catch — and it’s a big one: Glen Mazzara is is stepping down as showrunner.

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Per the network, the two parties have mutually decided to part ways. “Glen guided the series creatively for Seasons 2 and 3,” AMC said in a statement. “[We're] 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. This decision is amicable and Glen will remain on for post-production on Season 3B as showrunner and executive producer.”

Mazzara called his time on Walking Dead “an amazing experience,” adding, “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.”

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Series creator Robert Kirkman, meanwhile, issued his own statement, saying, “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. I thank Glen for his hard work and appreciate his many contributions to The Walking Dead and look forward to working with him as we complete post production on Season 3. I am also excited to begin work on another spectacular season of this show that I know means so much to so many people. 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.”

This is the second major behind-the-scenes shake-up to rock Walking Dead during its relatively short, phenomenally successful life. Early into the show’s second season, Frank Darabont was fired as showrunner. His exit was also the result of creative differences.

Walking Dead is set to return with the second half of Season 3 on Sunday, February 10.

A replacement for Mazzara has not yet been named.

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76 Comments
  1. Carter says:

    I’m happy it’s c

    • Carter says:

      Got cut off sorry. I’m happy it’s coming back but I’m not pleased about the departure. Glen Mazzarra was an excellent EP, make up artist, and director. Good luck Mr Mazzarra

  2. bigby_wolf says:

    WTH are you doing AMC?! Two Exec. Producers gone within the span of two, actually one, season?! I really hope they snap up someone good so this doesn’t effect the quality of season four. Mazzara has really turned this show into the right direction starting back with the second half of season two.

    • KevyB says:

      You got that right! I was petrified going into this season after living through the torture known as Most of Season Two. But it was MOSTLY pretty good. There are still way too many morons on that show… cough, Andrea, cough… but at least we didn’t have to watch them search for someone for eight episodes!!

  3. Elf says:

    Noooooo. He saved the show after an absolutely horrible Season 2 (I know he was there for the back half, but I think he did what he could with what he was given there).

    What is with AMC and this show? It has monstrous ratings- just do what they want!

    • Tania says:

      “absolutely horrible season 2″? You must have been watching a totally different program. Season 2 was absolutely brilliant. Of course, Season 3 took it one step further into perfection.

      • JeyRey says:

        I agree. I loved Season 2. I don’t understand all of this Season 2 hate. The show is great. It’s better than the drivel the other networks are trying to pass off as television these days. Darabont was great. Mazzara was great. I’m sure they will be able to find another inspired person to take the helm. Who knows, maybe the reason the show is so successful is because the perspective stays fresh with every new EP.

        • M3rc Nate says:

          It was full of soap opera style drama that was not in the (perfect) comics. Mainly because Shane was not alive when they were on the Farm, mainly because his character is too shallow and simple to have stretched out so long. Shane was just a best friend, who took care of his best friends wife and son, who slept with her ONCE (cause hes always had feelings for her), she regretted it afterwards and said never again, he became obsessed, Rick came back, became group leader/Alpha male and got his family back, Shane cracked, attempted to kill Rick, and Carl shot and killed Shane protecting his dad. Not enough character story/depth to stretch his existence out, TV show tried and hence S2 being seen as very weak by viewers.

          Im fearful in regards to Greg leaving. Makes me think Greg wanted to keep the show on the successful rails that he got it onto, and AMC wanted to divert and change up the direction to get even more ratings….aka Greg had artistic integrity to the story and AMC is chasing viewers like most networks do which ends up ruining the quality of shows. They start losing good true character driven deep story and start using ploys and cheap tricks (like violence for violence sake, nudity, sex, overly dramatic scenes, etc).

          • M3rc Nate says:

            *Glen, sorry

          • wrstlgirl says:

            “seen as very weak by viewers” Some viewers, certainly not all by any means. I found S2 very entertaining. Kinda sounds to me as if you would prefer the TV show follow the comics to the letter. If so, you’re going to continue to be very disappointed. Both Mazzara and Kirkman have said more than once that this will never happen.

          • M3rc Nate says:

            Yes i know Wrstlgirl and i am going to be continually disappointed. Why take something literally perfect in one medium, and when moving it to another medium, change it. Who would change perfection? Insane. Every change they have made in the TV show from the comics has been a mistake, except the adding of Dixon brothers.

            Every criticism of any season that critics and fans have had, can be traced back to a fundamental direction they took that isnt in the comics. The farm wasnt so long in the comics. Shane slept with Lori once, and she was still loyal to the memory of her husband and regretted it after, unlike the show which portrayed them as in a relationship. Shane was to shallow a character to keep around so long, hence Kirkman killed him off quickly in the comic. He played his small role. Andrea was never involved with the town and Governor. I could go on and on with the biggest complaints everyone has about TWD and they all trace back to a origin point that is not in the comics because Kirkman “doesnt want to get bored just transplanting his story from comic to TV so he likes to change things up”. Biggest mistake he could make IMO.

            Lol funny you bring up “mazzara says this will never happen” and he was let go for creative differences…so obviously AMC is going in a different direction than he wanted. Though i highly doubt that direction is “more in line with the comics”.

          • Wrstlgirl says:

            M3rc, I learned along time ago not to engage with readers of comic books turned into TV shows because they are always right so you can continue to be disappointed and I’ll continue to enjoy every episode repeatedly :-) Oh and Kirkman made that comment too so….just sayin’

      • Courteous Vampire says:

        Nah he’s right. Season 2 was awful. The show only started to get better when Glenn took over in the 2nd half. And Season 3 has been a much better improvement. Glenn has taken the show from being an all over the place mediocre drama, to being a true contender for one of the best dramas of the year.

      • Tweed says:

        I also think season 2 was horrible. At least that first half looking for sophia was beyond boring. I actually gave up on TWD because of it. I only came back when I heard they were going to kill Sean.

        • KD says:

          Season 2 was necessary to bridge the gap between trying to maintain morality and trying to survive. It was also necessary to create the depth in Rick and Carl’s characters….and Daryl’s. You can see how they evolved into bad-asses. It also made everyone complacent thinking they were safe at the farm which allowed for it to get overrun.

      • Shy says:

        Season 2 was so bad that I used Fast Forward button all the time. Like sometimes half episode. So bad and boring it was every time when they were talking about nothing.
        Season 2 destroyed Shane as character. He was normal man who fell in love with wrong woman in S1. In S2 they shaved his head and turned him in some crazy idiot. And didn’t even give him satisfying death. He died like a crazy jealous idiot.
        Season 2 was so bad that many people almost stopped watching.

        • KD says:

          That just shows how a person could regress in a world that has basically gone to hell. The writers are just adding depth to an otherwise flat character in the comics. In ‘real life’ zombie apocalypse (sarcasm), would Carl shoot Shane because he’s beating up his daddy (like in the comics)? No, he’d shoot Shane because his about to eat daddy. And in the show Lori was just acting natural in the scenario where she thinks her husband is dead and she doesn’t know if she’ll live until tomorrow. They are just trying to be more layered than the comics and trying to be less corny then the other ‘end of the world’ attempt that is on TV now (Revolution). He turned into a crazy idiot in Season 2, because he was struggling with trying not to get eaten, trying to protect a family that wasn’t his, and he was struggling with no longer being the one people look up to…that’ll make anyone a crazy idiot.

    • Doe says:

      Glen Mazzara was there for the entire second season, not just half. Frank Darabont, the show’s first season EP, was fired after the first season (six episodes).

      • Jen says:

        actually Frank was fired after the first half of season 2 was already in production. the first half was all Frank and the second half was Glen guiding Frank’s vision for the season. season 3 is the first season to be solely Glen’s.

        • mario says:

          thats not actually true, franks vision of his 2nd season was never created. he didnt get to film his version of season 2. he was fired before that could happen

          • Doe says:

            You’re absolutely correct, Mario. I read an article online about how Darabont would have started season 2, had he not been fired. Darabont had plans to start season two with flashbacks to the early days of the outbreak, following some soldiers in Atlanta as they battle walkers. They would have met some of the cast members along the way (Dale, Andrea, etc.). It sounded really interesting. EW online has the article; just look up “Frank Darabont Walking Dead Season 2 Plan”.

    • A says:

      agree. season 2 was awful.

  4. John says:

    Why can they never tell us why?

  5. TV fan says:

    I feel like a child of the divorce now…I love mom, but I also love dad. Why can’t they just get long? They are destroying my home and ruining my life!

  6. Ruby says:

    What is going on over at AMC that they can’t retain people for this show? I am seriously discouraged by the “we don’t agree on the direction of the show moving forward” line…Glen Mazzara loves this show and getting rid of someone who cares so much is a huge mistake. They’re getting rid of all the people who were so passionate about bringing this to the screen…I have a feeling this is going to end badly.

    • Doe says:

      That worries me too, what you wrote: “They’re getting rid of all the people who were so passionate about bringing this to the screen”. First Darabont and now Mazzara. It makes me worry about AMC possibly nitpicking over costs and contemplating further budget cuts, which would be very bad indeed.

      • tripoli says:

        Yeah, it’s pretty clear form watching Talking Dead that Mazzara is super invested in the show and is a fan as well. I hope that whoever steps in has the same level of passion and commitment that he had.

  7. One of these days, AMC is just going to go too far in its lust for larger profit margins and ruin its brand. If this isn’t the case here. They got lucky they had someone as talented as Mazzara to take over for a visionary like Frank Darabont. But they continue to butt heads with their creative talent to save extra money while at the same time maintain or exceed the quality their shows have shown. People like Vince Gilligan and Matthew Weiner take it on the chin and do their best with what they’re given. But there is a limit on the amount of quality production you can demand for the kind of constantly shrinking budget AMC is trying to get away with. You just imagine a bunch of really fat guys who smoke cigars in a limo somewhere, like the Rich Texan from The Simpsons, who encounter wealth seemingly by accident and have an air recklessness that will surely lead them to bankruptcy.

    • JM says:

      Matthew Weiner has sucked AMC dry with his Diva demands – he’s the reason Breaking Bad is ending and the reasong Walking Dead’s budget was slashed. Instead of rewarding their highest viewd shows they continue to plkease that ego maniac Weiner all because his slow-not-that-good-anymore show is the critic’s favorite wank off.

      • Joe says:

        You’re correct. This is all about money. AMC doesn’t want to lavish these guys like they did Weiner and make that mistake again so they toe the line with guys like Mazzara and they walk. You don’t leave the biggest show on TV because it’s time to move on. You leave it because the network won’t pay you what you believe you’re worth. AMC never pays these guys what they’re worth. Weiner fighting them tooth & nail was the right thing to do because Mad Men was a monster hit for them and he was making nothing at first…but because of that deal, the network pushes back when EP’s want what they’ve earned. It’s a shame they’re losing Mazzara and you just hope whoever comes in has the passion for the show that they’re stoked this season out of fans.

      • Britta Unfiltered says:

        That’s some pretty wild speculation there. You got any proof to back it up? Because I have a direct quote from Gilligan in an interview he gave on the salon website regarding the end of the Breaking Bad series that says, “We’re sad because we don’t want this to end. But we know it must. We know we don’t want to ever get to a point where we’re just treading water, creatively. That would be the worst kind of fate.” He always wanted Breaking Bad to follow a natural progression of the story and characters and then come to a satisfying conclusion. What they are doing now was always part of the plan for that show.
        .
        As far as Weiner being the reason Walking Dead’s budget was slashed…First off, AMC does not own Mad Men, Lionsgate does. AMC only pays a licensing fee to Lionsgate, and Lionsgate is the one who controls Mad Men’s budget and negotiations with Weiner and the stars. Those very public negoitations last year with Weiner occurred between Lionsgate and Weiner, not AMC and Weiner. And while we’re on the subject, Weiner did have to make some concessions by agreeing to cutting the episodes to allow for more ad time and putting more product integration in the show. Now AMC does own The Walking Dead and they are the ones who financially pay for every single thing for that show from salaries to craft services to costumes to every single tube of KY jelly they use for the zombie makeup, so AMC therefore does control TWD budget. Now thirdly, the Mad Men budget per episode runs about 2 to 2.5 million. Walking Dead season 2 budget was 2.7 million per episode, which was actually a cut from their 3.4 million per episode.in the first season. I can’t find season 3 actual budget numbers online, but Mazzarra was asked about the season 3 budget and was quoted as saying, “I think you might see a few more dollars on the screen in the third season. It’s gonna be bigger.” So please tell me again how Weiner and Mad Men are killing Walking Dead’s budget and please have facts to back them up.

  8. kyle says:

    clearly AMC has a vision for WD, and if others don’t see it, they get the boot.

  9. wrstlgirl says:

    So much doom and gloom, wow. There’s a lot of incredible talent there. I’m sure it will be fine.

    • tripoli says:

      That’s not really the point. It’s not a question of whether the show will be fine, but rather getting rid of people who actually really care about the direction of the show and the stories that are being told. Seems AMC would rather watch costs than do what is right for the show that is massively loved by the very vocal and passionate fans.

  10. Bailey says:

    That’s never a good sign…

  11. Polly says:

    why amc? why?

  12. TV Gord says:

    I think fresh blood (or fresh meat, as it were) is always healthy for a show such as this. I didn’t dislike any of the shows some people are saying were horrible, but I’m not a micro-manager of things I cannot control. I just sit back and enjoy it, and I have been enjoying The Walking Dead since day one. Hopefully, the new blood will bring something new and exciting to the table.

  13. intelliwoman says:

    Hopefully this serves as a death knell for a horrible, gratuitously violent disgusting, overacted, poorly written show. I am a sci fi and a horror fan, and think this show is nothing but a vast wasteland of lousy actors, blood and guts for show, horrible acting and pointless stories, with out characters that are meaningful or likeable

  14. Derek Johnson says:

    TWD has survived one show-runner change and with Robert Kirkman still on board, that’s what’s important to the show movie forward. At least this one didn’t happen at the beginning of a season. But how many more big changes can the show take? They already face huge cast turnover, and now they have to find a new showrunner? AMC had a bad reputation before all this came down, I can’t imagine how it’s going to get better. Imagine what the networks image will be if Low Winter Sun bombs.

  15. RobMF says:

    Kirkman for showrunner.

  16. Dan says:

    Just guessing but AMC probably wanted to cut the budget…again. (And yeah I’m ok with guessing since both parties are being so purposely vague.)

  17. Midori004 says:

    SHouldn’t the network just do whatever the hell the writers want to do being that they are the ones that created the most popular show in the history of cable TV?

  18. Joe says:

    This has AMC all over it. They’ve taken SO LONG in renewing this show they obviously want something for it and they’re getting super greedy about it. They will run the show to the ground if they keep on with this.

    Let people do the great work that they keep doing!

  19. diane says:

    I wonder if Gale Ann Hurd is hard to work for or with. Or is it the AMC execs? Kirkman?

  20. KD says:

    AMC, please don’t turn TWD into Revolution! Please keep it gritty. As long as Kirkman stays on, we should be ok.

  21. Elyse says:

    2 and 3 were awesome seasons!!! epic fail AMC

  22. Ainav says:

    Just when the show had completely erased the bitter memory of season 2A… This sooooks.

  23. topoopon says:

    Season 4 EP Chris Hardwick.

    • RobMF says:

      I honestly might be for that. He’s a huge fan and I love Talking Dead. Though I really have to assume if they aren’t going with Robert Kirkman they’ll find someone who will do whatever they want. For lulz, I say bring in Dan Harmon, then in the finale this all happened in Abed’s Dreamatorium.

  24. b. says:

    Yea, I agree with others! Glen leaving isn’t good! This may come back to bite AMC in the @ss! Hopefully this move doesn’t ruin the show!

  25. N says:

    It has to make you wonder what these guys, Mazzara & Darabont, wanted to do/ not do that AMC is for/ against. It cant just be a money thing or is it? I think maybe there’s a character or plot line AMC does/ doesnt want to use that is to blame for Mazzara leaving.

    • The way I see it, it’s something like Mazzara wanting to move on from the Prison and Woodbury because those stories are done, time to tackle the next thing from the comics: Zombies on the moon base from the future. But AMC says they spent a ton of money on the prison and Woodbury sets, so they should stay there for at least one more season and then maybe they can build the spaceship set and get the Zero G equipment and the CG floating blood globules. And Mazzara sees that as a repeat of season 2, stretching out the story they had for a location far longer than necessary. Seems like it’s always been creative integrity VS budget on this show.

  26. teatime says:

    Season three was my favorite season. This makes me nervous for what the change in direction might be.

  27. Scott says:

    I bet AMC does want to slash the budget. These are the same illogical idiotic greedy people that won’t let Bear McCreary release a score soundtrack.

    Glen has been a champion of Bear’s music, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re trying to cut the budget in such a way that it would affect the use of live musicians on the show.

    How dare a network know what’s best for a show. NBC and SyFy has done it repeatedly with their shows and look where it has landed them.

  28. Jaime says:

    I liked season two. Im not one of those losers who cant follow a story line and has to have blood and guts every episode. Without season two the character building that got us to love the characters would have never happened and without season two the building of season three wouldnt have happened. Damn people learn to appreciate every aspect of a story. Including the non action packed parts. thats what makes those moments worth it! Because youre going “please dont let that character die!” why? you like that character which couldnt have happened without the character building of season two.

  29. yang says:

    Noooooo! Not Glenn!!! One reason why I’m watching the walking dead is because of him :( Lori now Glenn :((

  30. Mark says:

    Why do creatures that are falling apart everywhere else still have strong teeth?

  31. PJGU says:

    I am fascinated by the almost even divide that appears here between those who liked season two and what has shown of season three so far, and those who did not. So far, the only season, IMHO, that was truly well written was season 1. I never read the comics and knew nothing about the show before I got hooked on it back then. About halfway through season 2, I thought “Oh crap! What happened to the writing? This is starting to look like a soap opera!” Season two was still fairly good though, and then season 3 premiered. I have not enjoyed it all. Again, the writing seems to be turning into a formulaic mess, designed to keep and build ratings with certain groups of marketing desirables. The smart, dark intensity of the first season has been lacking. So, with the current show runner leaving, I would normally be pleased, but I fear that AMC will still be looking to replace him with someone who writes for that targeted audience. Sigh. This is just my opinion of course, so don’t skewer me now. ;)

  32. i8urcak3s says:

    Im just nervous how there going to just cut glen out of the story… I hope its not just a random replacement actor whos just dropped it. They should make a side story about how glen is gone… He never got to marry maggie either :,(

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