Being a showrunner on an AMC series seems to be a tough job to hold onto. Being a showrunner on AMC's "The Walking Dead" appears to be even harder. While Glen Mazzara's exit from the series after the current season was officially announced as an amicable parting of the ways, many were skeptical, especially given the network's history of public disagreements with producers on their other hit shows.
Now rumors are finally starting to trickle in about what could have actually led to his surprising exit. One target for blame appears to be series creator and writer Robert Kirkman, who Kurt Sutter ("Sons of Anarchy") denounced in several colorful tweets. Kirkman, Sutter said, was "an amazing visual artist and a graphic artist [but] knows very little about TV, and the reins keep going back to him in this process, and he doesn't know how to run a show." Well, he's not an artist, but the point is sound.
One insider told The Hollywood Reporter, "I believe Robert wants to maintain a certain amount of his control, and AMC needs Robert for the fan base." Kirkman responded to Sutter's biting comments with restraint, stating "[Sutter] is brilliant and Sons is my favorite show on TV. Still, it's upsetting to see him ranting about things he knows nothing about."
Not all the blame lies with Kirkman, as evidently several producers on the series had butted heads with Mazzara and his creative direction. One source told The Hollywood Reporter that Mazzara's shortcomings in running the series came to a head this season, in particular the last half of the season in which production was shut down several times due to a lack of material.
Even if production was rocky, it's hard to argue Mazzara's success, as the current season has gained widespread acclaim and growing popularity. The midseason finale Dec. 2 lured 10.5 million total viewers and 6.9 million in the key adults 18-to-49 demo, besting even broadcast network shows. I still say the root of the problem lies with AMC -- I've lost count of the public disputes they've had with showrunners on virtually every series. What do you think of these rumors?