News just broke through THR on the mysterious firing of Frank Darabont from season 2 of ‘The Walking Dead’. If we had to summarize it for you in just a couple words, the reason would be:
The Studio Heads at AMC are cheap, short sighted twits.
Now granted, I’m paraphrasing, but let’s go over some of the highlights from the news.
First, let’s see what the cast reaction is. Well, I guess that won’t officially happen. It appears that the folks at AMC have been “terrorizing” them and recommending that they do not speak out. They have been described as extremely scared and dis heartened. They also know that being on a zombie show means that you can get killed off any time.
So why was he fired just a few days after he promoted the hell out of the show at comic con? It seems like there are two answers to this question. Who better to promote the show at Comic Con than Darabont himself. he’s an icon and loved by the attendees. Additionally, Studio heads are great at making decrees from their offices, but non of them have the balls to make an announcement like that directly in front of a room of fans.
The second reason is that they needed some sort of inciting incident. They had been arguing a lot about money and the show budget for a while, but they needed a specific reason to point to. It turns out that one of the directors had shot footage for a season 2 episode that was unusable. Darabont was in the editing bay trying to salvage it. The studio took the opportunity to fire him right then.
So, what is it all really about? MONEY.
The studio wanted to shave $650,000 out of the episode from each budget. This is something that Frank was very concerned about. He was worried (rightfully so) that such major cuts would hurt the show creatively.
Interestingly, the show garnered a 30% tax credit from the state of Georgia based on the uncut budget. It chose to pocket that money and not to re-invest it into their biggest ratigns hit.
Instead they offered notes like:
“The show shoots for eight days per episode, and the network suggested that half should be indoors. “Four days inside and four days out? That’s not Walking Dead,” says this insider. “This is not a show that takes place around the dinner table.”
“Couldn’t the audience hear the zombies sometimes and not see them, to save on makeup?”
We hope that the show survives and continues to get better and better, but we are now a bit less excited about it based on what went down behind the scenes.