By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 28, 2011 at 4:41AM
The annual Television Critics Association panels are under way in Los Angeles. New news from Thursday's AMC panel: Mad Men star Jon Hamm will direct the Season Five premiere, which starts filming next week.
And while there was some hope that light might be shed on the surprise departure of Frank Darabont, creator and showrunner of AMC's popular zombie series The Walking Dead, AMC exec Joel Stillerman dodged questions and AMC supplied a statement:
The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara, writer and executive producer, is expanding his responsibilities to assume the role of showrunner. AMC is grateful to executive producer, writer and pilot director Frank Darabont whose contributions to the success of The Walking Dead are innumerable. We continue to discuss his ongoing role with the series.
Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead graphic novels, executive producer and writer on the series, will remain in this role and will continue to steward the brand. Gale Anne Hurd will remain in her role as Executive Producer. The production continues on schedule for an October 16th premiere.
Hurd didn't mention any shake-ups in our conversation at Comic-Con.