With The Walking Dead season 2 all set to go ahead without Frank Darabont, fans have been wanting to know exactly what went wrong. It would seem that AMC may have bitten off more than they could chew, and subsequent budget cuts caused some friction between the makers and tensions ran high. Season Two may well be a problem, firstly it has no Darabont there, and secondly more budget cuts and executive decisions may well mean the show losing its way. There is a massive article which may shed some light in the Hollywood Reporter.
Here are some snippets from the report:
…There also have been no public comments from the cast, and a source with knowledge of the situation says AMC has been “terrorizing” them and their representatives to discourage them from speaking out on Darabont’s behalf. “They’re scared,” confirms another insider. “They’re on a zombie show. They are all really easy to kill off.”
…What remains a central mystery, even to those closely involved, is what triggered AMC’s move to fire Darabont. As noted, AMC’s decision to cut the budget dated to the previous fall, when the network instructed Darabont to produce 13 episodes for a second season, up from six for the first season, for less money. Not only would the show get a lower budget, but AMC also decided that Walking Dead would no longer reap the benefit of a 30 percent tax credit per episode that came with filming in Georgia. Now the network was going to hold on to that money.
What is also hugely significant is that Walking Dead is the only show AMC owns, which means the network bears all the financial risk (and could reap much greater rewards in success). That is not the kind of chance that the network had been willing to take before. AMC developed Mad Men and even fully financed a pilot before the company decided that the cost of the first season, about $25 million, was too much to bear. So AMC sold the idea to Lionsgate and licensed it from the studio. Lionsgate owns Mad Men, and Sony Television owns Breaking Bad
…But this source says that AMC had its own ideas about how to make the show more cheaply. 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.” That was just one of what this person describes as “silly notes” from AMC. Couldn’t the audience hear the zombies sometimes and not see them, to save on makeup? The source says Darabont fought “a constant battle to keep the show big in scope and style.”