Frank Darabont BURIES AMC, Talks ‘Walking Dead’ Firing


It’s no secret that Frank Darabont and AMC have a strained relationship. While Darabont was the one who brought The Walking Dead to the AMC network, serving as the first showrunner of the series, he was unceremoniously fired during the second season. It was very surprising news for fans of the series, as under Darabont’s leadership, The Walking Dead became an instant television juggernaut. What went wrong?

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We know that Darabont has always considered his sudden dismissal to be unjust, so it wasn’t surprising when we first learned that the director was taking the network to court. Now, we get a closer look into the fallout between the two, thanks to a recently unsealed court deposition made by Darabont for the lawsuit against AMC, which has been revealed by THR. Apparently, the start of the issues came along when AMC slashed the budget for Season 2 of The Walking Dead, despite the massive success of Season 1— even though there were going to be over twice as many episodes. Here’s what Darabont had to say about it:

"“I remember Joel Stillerman [president of original programming and development for AMC], in a meeting in my office, when we were all discussing the issues of the upcoming season, we said to him, ‘Surely that the success of the show, which, by the way, you guys are bragging about because we keep getting e-mails saying, ‘Hey, we’re breaking viewership records in 120 countries around the world by hundreds of percent, in some countries by over 1,000%,’ at the same time we’re hearing how successful the show is for you, you’re telling us that this, this budget issue is not going to budge at all. And he said, ‘The success of the show has no bearing on this discussion,’ in a rather icy manner.”"

It seems like AMC preferred to keep their own pockets padded, even if it meant holding back on the potential quality of the show. Sure, ratings have been consistently sky high, and as that’s all AMC cares about, I’m sure they’re happy. Still, can you just think of how much better the show would likely be had Frank Darabont stayed on board? After all, he is the critically-acclaimed director behind The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist.

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But, ultimately, it was just easier (and more profitable) for AMC to send Frank Darabont packing, replacing him with someone far less qualified. The dip in quality following Darabont’s dismissal was obvious to many fans of the series. I’ve still always been a die-hard fan, but even I have to admit that the majority of Season 3 was a mess— especially the finale. Fortunately, the show improved exponentially when Scott Gimple became the third showrunner of the series, but it’s still hard not to think about what could have been, had Frank Darabont never left.

Darabont went on to describe some of the other things that happened that led to his exit from The Walking Dead. He says his firing was “concocted” by the network and producers, who accused him of not tending to his directorial duties, when he, in fact, was going above and beyond for the show— just like the rest of the cast and crew. Darabont developed a disdain for the AMC brass, detailing how they had no idea how much hard work had gone into giving the network a golden goose on a silver platter.

"“When they did rarely show up on the [Georgia-based] set, [they] would … drive in from the airport in their air conditioned car, race into the air conditioned tent we had there so the actors could have a break and not pass out from the heat, poke their heads out on occasion, and half an hour later jump back in their car and fly back to their air conditioned office in New York. I had a tremendous lack of respect for them.”"

That’s not surprising behavior from these people, as they evidently saw the entire team behind The Walking Dead as a group of dollar signs. To read more about what Frank Darabont had to say about AMC, you can check out the original article at THR by clicking here.