AMC: ‘The Walking Dead’ Will Hit Its Oct. 16 Premiere Date

Frank Darabont’s departure won’t halt production, assures network exec

Last Updated: August 5, 2011 @ 3:13 PM

"The Walking Dead" will hits its Oct. 16 Season 2 premiere date, but its still unclear what role, if any, departing showrunner Frank Darabont will have going forward on the zombie-apocalypse drama he created last fall, AMC said Thursday.

AMC had planned to limit its presence at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to a panel discussion of "Hell on Wheels," the network's ambitious upcoming western. But Tuesday's news about Darabont's surprising exit from the series prompted a change of plans.

Also read: "Walking Dead" Gets New Showrunner

Addressing reporters before the "Hell on Wheels" panel, AMC senior vice president of original programming Joel Stillerman that "Walking Dead" production "won't miss a beat."

Earlier Thursday morning, AMC released this offficial statement about Darabont's departure:

"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."

When asked specifically what caused Darabont to leave, however, Stillerman said, “I don’t have much to add to the circumstances of it.” He also declined to clarify whether Darabont would stay on the show or, if not, what "The Shawshank Redemption" writer-director's upcoming plans might be.

Stillerman also addressed widespread complaints about the lack of resolution of the first season of "The Killing."

"You will find out who killed Rosie Larsen in season two — definitively."

He added that showrunner Veena Sud will open "The Killing" writers room next month.