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Frank Darabont 'departs' The Walking Dead

Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead

Story by Jack Foley

FRANK Darabont is stepping down as showrunner on hit series The Walking Dead.

The shock announcement comes just days after he appeared at Comic-Con to promote the forthcoming second season.

Darabont served as the show’s creator, its executive producer and directed key episodes of the zombie hit, which is based on the comics by Robert Kirkman.

It is currently unclear whether he will stay on with the series in any capacity.

Darabont has, however, seemed keen to avoid becoming too committed to the show in order to keep himself free to pursue other projects.

After the drama’s first season was completed, for instance, he suggested the idea of using freelancers to script the series, but eventually opted for a full writing staff with Glen Mazzara brought in to serve as his number two.

Another reason could be the proposed budget cuts, which had already irked the filmmaker in May.

Commenting on those earlier this year, he said: “I believe if they do move ahead with what they’re talking about [budget cuts], it will affect the show creatively… in a negative way. Which just strikes me as odd. If you have an asset, why would you punish it?”

Season 2 of The Walking Dead is currently due to premiere on US TV on Sunday, October 16.

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