Thompson on Hollywood

Many media folk have been trying to get to the bottom of why AMC fired showrunner Frank Darabont off its most successful show, The Walking Dead. THR's Kim Masters comes up with some answers, although AMC is keeping Darabont and others mum. Not surprisingly, two of the usual factors, greed and ego, are involved. What's astonishing is how much AMC's head of original programming, Joel Stillerman, the villain of Masters' piece, seems willing to risk the quality of his biggest hit in order to reap profits.

Doesn't Stillerman realize that the scope and scale of the outdoor survival zombie drama is essential to its success? The Walking Dead played like a movie, and turning into just another routine cable series will cost AMC in the long run. Writer-director Darabont fought every day for that quality, and with him gone, even other strong contributors to the show will be running scared.