'Walking Dead' looks ahead to a post-Darabont life
A day after news reports surfaced that Frank Darabont was leaving "The Walking Dead," there was finally a little clarity about where the zombie show was headed.
Darabont is stepping down from his multifaceted role at the AMC series and, at most, will be involved as a consultant. In his place, AMC will promote Darabont No. 2 Glen Mazzara, a veteran of "The Shield" who has been heavily involved in "Dead" since the end of 2010. It remains to be seen, though, whether the television veteran will imbue the show with the same cinematic scope as Darabont, an Oscar nominee with movies like "The Shawshank Redemption" to his credit.
The network could have chosen to bring in a high-profile outsider, though almost any top-caliber creative types would think twice about taking over a show so closely associated with another creator's vision.
When the Darabont news broke Tuesday night, the news shocked many in Hollywood, coming at a time when the series' stock couldn't be higher.
A second season of Rick Grimes and his band of scrappy humans is currently shooting in Georgia. A recently released trailer for the season garnered significant buzz, and a Comic-Con International panel Friday in San Diego -- in which Darabont participated with no evidence of any problems -- showed fans as eager as ever for the Oct. 16 return of the post-apocalyptic series.
The show was inextricably tied up with Darabont -- he worked for years to turn Robert Kirkman's ongoing comic series into a show and was its creator and executive producer, also directing some episodes in its six-episode first season. An AMC spokeswoman declined to comment.
Fans could soon get a hint of how Mazzara will carry out what Darabont set in motion -- AMC is set to present at the Television Critics Assn. tour on Thursday.
-- Steven Zeitchik