Darabont’s Walking Dead

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

I remember being surprised to learn that Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) would be directing The Walking Dead.  I was even more surprised to learn that he wouldn’t be directing its second season — AMC fired him:

Within a space of months, AMC has become embroiled in messy public fights with the creators of its top three shows — Mad Men, Breaking Bad and now Walking Dead. The battles have been about money, but in this case, at least, it was more of a slow burn than a sudden flare-up. Sources say last fall, even before the first episode of the show had aired, AMC let it be known that it would effectively slash the show’s second-season budget per episode by about $650,000, from $3.4 million to $2.75 million. AMC cut the budget and pocketed a tax credit previusly applied to the show. An AMC source says the size of the cut cited by sources is “grossly inflated” and that the second-season budget represents a more typical and sustainable number for a basic cable show.

At a glance, it would appear AMC is taking a big risk with its only huge commercial success. Mad Men and Breaking Bad are Emmy magnets that average 2.3 million and 4.3 million viewers, respectively. But Walking Dead, based on a series of graphic novels, attracted an astonishing 5.3 million viewers when it premiered on Halloween. The season finale in December drew more than 6 million viewers. In the 18-to-49 demo, it chalked up the biggest number ever for any drama on basic cable.


  1. Alrenous says:

    It’s official. The networks hate good television.

  2. Isegoria says:

    For years I assumed it was the audience that hated good television. Now I’m beginning to wonder.

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