Glen Mazarra Talks More About Stepping Down As THE WALKING DEAD's Showrunner
Talking at NAPTE, former showrunner of The Walking Dead Glen Mazzara touched upon his surprise exit from the AMC series. While he doesn't mention anyone by name, it sounds as if the problem was just how much control both the network and Robert Kirkman were willing to give him.
Glen Mazzara's departure as showrunner of The Walking Dead came as equally as big a surprise as when Frank Darabont parted ways (after being fired) with AMC during the second season. Mazarra was in charge of the show at the time it became one of the top-rated dramas on television, although it was the lack of control that the network allowed him that seemingly led to his sudden departure at the conclusion of the third season. Not only did he have to put up with a lack of creative freedom - it sounds as if he may have butted heads with Robert Kirkman - he was also given notes from the network and even got them from over 15 producers and members of the cast!
I was sort of the hired gun coming in to support the creator of the show, and through odd circumstances I ended up becoming showrunner. You had to sort of grab the wheel as if we were going through a storm, and I’m happy to say I was able to contribute and we got through the storm. But when I think people involved with the show are looking at the long-term plan, they want something different -- and what those differences are, you would have to ask AMC.
When you’re the creator, you can say, 'This is what the show is.' I didn’t create the show. I didn’t create the comic book, so I’m just glad I was able to contribute. On Walking Dead, because I was coming into a culture with all the different writers and producers and now I was stepping up, I really wanted to build that team. I wanted everybody invested in what we were doing. I didn’t think it would be right to say, ‘OK, there’s a new sheriff in town.’ That wasn’t my attitude, and I felt like the show would have definitely failed if that was the case.
There’s no way you can take every note. There’s no way you can make everybody happy. So I'd just sort of go through and do a rewrite on the entire script trying to include all of those different voices, all of those different perspectives. At the end of the day, though, you’re never going to get consensus. So that’s where I have to say, 'I feel this is the best possible script.' At the end of the day, somebody has to make the call. Otherwise, it’s just chaos.
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