'The Walking Dead': AMC exec discusses Frank Darabont's departure

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walking-dead-s2-tease-320.jpgAMC came to the Television Critics Association press tour Thursday (July 28) to talk about its new series "Hell on Wheels," but the cable channel also took some time to address the zombie elephant in the room: showrunner Frank Darabont's departure from "The Walking Dead."

Joel Stillerman, head of original programming at AMC, confirmed that Glen Mazzara ("The Shield," "Crash"), who was already on staff, will take over as showrunner for Season 2. Stillerman declined to say much the circumstances of Darabont leaving the show, but he did offer some kind parting words. Darabont developed the show based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel, wrote and directed the pilot and penned several other episodes.

"I also want to ... say a very heartfelt thank you to Frank Darabont for his incredible contribution he's made to 'The Walking Dead,'" Stillerman says. "... His fingerprints are all over the adaptation of Robert Kirkman's source material ... and we're grateful for his contribution."  

Stillerman also says that the change at the top shouldn't affect the flow of production and that the cast and crew "are all working incredibly hard to facilitate a seamless transition into the rest of Season 2," which is scheduled to premiere Oct. 16. "I'm getting reports that production is not going to miss a beat, and we're going to make our airdate."
Photo/Video credit: AMC