Celebrity: AMC Execs
You'd never think a network with uniquely told, singular-vision success series like Mad Men and Breaking Bad would have trouble respecting the concept of TV auteur-ism. Then you read about the network engaging in disputes with the respective studios and creators of those shows, which almost led to Matthew Weiner exiting Mad Men (which would've been a sure sign of the apocalypse) and Breaking Bad shopping its final episodes to other networks.
Those conflicts had happy endings—Weiner walked away with $30 million for the final three Mad years and Breaking Bad is airing part two of its final season this year—the biggest earner for the network, The Walking Dead, has just lost its second showrunner in only one year. Say what you will about the series—despite its flaws it's the best thing on TV. It's TV's answer to the blockbuster movie and nothing more—but the third season, which is on midseason hiatus, has, under the guise of boss Glen Mazzara, unquestionably been the best stretch of the series to date. Mazzara was also largely responsible for the course-correcting back half of season two earlier this year, which advanced the plot and got the characters off of that goddamn farm.
No one knows what led to his exit for sure, but let's be honest, it was probably money. The Walking Dead is the highest rated cable series out, Mazzara likely thought he should receive a bonus reflective of his hard work in his stocking this Christmas, and AMC replied with a pink slip.
Acclaimed TV critic Alan Sepinwall just released a book entitled The Revolution Will Be Televised, which chronicles the golden-age series that effectively changed the medium forever. What they all had in common was creative guidance from the same steady hand with a specific storytelling goal in mind. Dead will most likely be fine, but the idea that creators/showrunners on series such as this one are expendable is a ludicrous one. We just hope it doesn't take a creatively stunted fourth season to convince the AMC suits of such. —Frazier Tharpe