AMC is a weird little network. Once the haven of 24 hour Poltergeist III marathons and Albert Pyun restrospectives, it became the most legitimate thing on television with the help of shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and currently the most popular thing on cable, The Walking Dead. The whiplash between total irrelevance and cable supremacy seems to have left a fractured, confused power base installed at the top. The same people who greenlit The Adventures of Don Draper: '60s Sociopath also greenlit Comic Book Men also greenlit The Walt & Jesse Crystal Blue Funtime Hour also renewed (and are in the act of re-renewing) the egregiously disappointing The Killing.
For their next trick, they're going to renew The Walking Dead, and then they're going to force out the showrunner, Glen Mazzara, who took the job after AMC forced out show creator Frank Darabont. Why would you essentially remove the guy who led your show to it's most critically appreciated, audience appreciated full season? AMC's answer:
"Both parties acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion about where the show should go moving forward, and conclude that it is best to part ways. This decision is amicable and Glen will remain on for post-production on season 3B as showrunner and executive producer,"
So now I guess we wait until Season Four to discover just what the hell that direction is. Considering how Season Three's gone so far, I'm guessing AMC is pushing for something in that sweet spot between "plodding, annoying, aimless storytelling" and "shaky, somewhat-effective, sometimes-powerful television." So far, there's no real speculation as to who will replace Mazzara. Some are already suggesting Kirkman, but considering what a bang-up job he's done with his comic, I'm not entirely sure he really should be in charge of his own story.
Then again, it appears AMC isn't all that concerned with the overall quality of their show in the first place. In fact, The Walking Dead is a notable success in that large numbers of its fans outright despise the show, and the characters in it, and yet still continue to watch just to see what will happen. Even a negative emotional investment is still an investment. The last time there was a media phenomenon that worked on the same principles, it was in the early '90s, and they called it Howard Stern. Fuck it, hire that grumpy gus to run the show. They're just gonna fire whoever they get at the end of the year anyway.
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