'The Walking Dead': Glen Mazzara takes over as showrunner
The bizarre behind-the-scenes shuffle at "The Walking Dead" seems to have settled down, with Glen Mazzara named to succeed Frank Darabont as showrunner.
As with Darabont's abrupt departure from the top job, the news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood's Nellie Andreeva, then confirmed to me by a source close to the production.
Whatever went on with Darabont, this was the only logical move the show could make. They're in the middle of season 2, which is no time to bring in someone from outside. Mazzara was Darabont's #2, and also has showrunning experience, having been in charge for a season of both Starz's "Crash" and TNT's "Hawthorne." (And before that, he wrote some terrific episodes of "The Shield," notably season 1's "Cupid and Psycho.")
Neither "Crash" nor "Hawthorne" were very good, but in the former Mazzara was working with iffy source material and what looked like a budget of $50 bucks an episode, $49 of which went to Dennis Hopper, while the latter was taking over in season 2 of a Jada Pinkett Smith vanity project. Of more interest to me here is that Mazzara wrote probably my favorite non-pilot episode of "The Walking Dead" season 1: the fifth episode, "Wildfire," which featured that great scene where Andrea says goodbye to her zombified sister, as well as the memorable montage of Noah Emmerich's CDC doctor coping with isolation in the weeks after the zombie apocalypse began.