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tv news

What really happened to Frank Darabont and The Walking Dead's second season

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kim Masters has written an excellent piece of showbiz journalism for The Hollywood Reporter trying to describe what the mood is amongst the cast and crew on The Walking Dead after showrunner Frank Darabont was dumped by AMC. After interviewing crew members and agents that represent actors working on the show, Masters paints a picture of a troubled production, one that is "scared" of how the network is pulling rank and dictating how the show will get made.

The Walking Dead is midway through production of its second season now in Atlanta. Unlike the first season of just six episodes, season two of TWD has been upgraded to 13 episodes. Masters reports that, according to sources, last year before the first episode premiered AMC had decided to slash $625,000 from the budget of second season episodes, should the series prove to attract an audience and warrant another season. The Walking Dead premiered to big ratings, exceeding the audience of AMC's then-biggest hit, Mad Men. Masters' sources then go on to state that Darabont and his creative team thought that, in light of the success of the show, the budget for second season episodes would get boosted back up to $3.4 million dollars (as they were in season one.) That proved to not be the case.

The picture gets worse. Masters then goes on to explain that the state of Georgia kicked in a 30 percent tax credit to the production for filming there. That money went toward the production in season one; for season two, it would go directly into the pockets of AMC. When it was clear that the budget for second season episodes would not be going up, that was when Darabont forced a conversation with AMC's president of production, Joel Stillerman, saying that they couldn't produce a second season that had the same wide open feel of zombie end of the world horror. Stillerman's response was to apparently suggest that they shoot one-half of each episode of the second season indoors to lower production costs.

If Masters really got to the heart of what's going on with The Walking Dead right now, it sounds like the show's second season could be substantially different from the first when it airs this fall. Not only will the loss of showrunner Frank Darabont mean that a different atmosphere will emerge in these new episodes, the reduction in money being spent could see a dramatic shifting of the tone of the show. Less zombies? More episodes set inside buildings? A reduction of the cast through zombie attrition? All of these things may come to pass in the second season of The Walking Dead.

Read the full article for more details.

-The Hollywood Reporter.
Quasar
Location:
Posts: 7588
Posted: 10 years 23 weeks ago

What with this and The Killing, looks like AMC is really trying to specialize in majorly pissing off viewers. The probably have some awful surprises in store for Mad Men's final season as well.

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
Jakester
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Posts: 5753
Posted: 10 years 23 weeks ago

It's like they know a good show when they see it, but have no idea how to keep it good.

"Does the audience need to see the zombies?" WHAT?!

Richard Gozinya, Harold Snatch and Wilbur Jizz. Together we are the law firm Gozinya, Snatch and Jizz.
mckracken
Location:
Posts: 965
Posted: 10 years 23 weeks ago

well honestly they didnt actually come out and say that Jakester... but by slashing the budget for 2nd season and filming indoors (with some creative writing, that wouldnt be a major impact as they do spend a considerable time inside a prison early on in the comics) and while the zombies are always a force to be reconed with, if you know where the main pack is, you can successfully avoid most large group run-ins with them just like they were doing in the first season.

also why cant a camp-ground set be built indoors and make it appear outdoors? they spent the bulk of season 1 at the camp ground (which actually WAS filmed out doors) but do they really need to shoot out in the wilderness?

who knows... maybe by 3rd season they will rehire Darabont back and ditch "the not-so-stupid petty bickering" over the budget and let the blood fly and the zombies roam the earth again.

mckracken
Location:
Posts: 965
Posted: 10 years 23 weeks ago

also Patrick, is the zombie photo above from the troubled 2nd season or taken from the 1st season? that "Hero" zombie that is mugging the camera doesnt look like it's done much rotting at all... and the contact lenses are really obvious... kinda looks like a stone statue Dnny-Boyle inspired zombie to me.

Patrick Sauriol
Location: Canada
Posts: 20119
Posted: 10 years 23 weeks ago

The zombie in the photo is indeed from the second season of the show.

No matter where you go, there you are.
mckracken
Location:
Posts: 965
Posted: 10 years 23 weeks ago

oops... thats cause for concern.

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 10 years 21 weeks ago

mckracken wrote:

also why cant a camp-ground set be built indoors and make it appear outdoors?

Here's where I refer you to the entire history of filmmaking. Indoor sets usually look immediately and unmistakably like indoor sets. I mean, if you want to keep them all in tents all the time, you might be able to pull it off. The second you try to make an indoor set look like the great outdoors, however, you get get an indoor set trying to look like the great outdoors.

Quasar
Location:
Posts: 7588
Posted: 10 years 21 weeks ago

Are the outdoors really that great?

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline