Back in August of 2011, AMC announced the firing of "Walking Dead" showrunner and executive producer Frank Darabont - the legendary filmmaker who had spent five years developing and shopping the graphic novel as a major television drama. It was as puzzling a move as it was unexpected. The fledgling series had just completed an enormously successful first season and was already showing signs of the ratings monster it would eventually become. Word of mouth was massive, production of season two was underway, and then boom - Drabont was gone.
According to sources, AMC slashed "Dead's" budget by some $500,000 - owing to AMC's desire to move away from Darabon't Hollywood feature- film approach to something more television friendly.
"Frank fights for the show," an insider told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "He doesn't just do what the network wants him to do. … He's a filmmaker, and that's why the show was as good as it was."
Over the ensuing years, Darabont has remainted mum on the move - but with his new series "Mob City" premiering on TNT Dec. 4, he's now finally opening up on what was truly a gutting experience.
"I had to take some time off after that to really reassess everything, to really get over the emotional devastation of having some truly malevolent people tear asunder a brilliant family that had gathered to create this hit for them," Darabont, who hasn't watched an episode of "Dead" since, told Rolling Stone. "It was a very, very deep and loving family, the cast and the crew, and to have that torn apart was – when somebody throws a hand-grenade into that situation, it's tremendously emotionally trying. So would I want to watch another episode of The Walking Dead after that? Are you f***ing kidding me? No, you put that traumatic disappointment behind you and move on with your life."
As for his new home on TNT, Darabont tells EW that it's a less-hostile environment than what he experienced with AMC.
“[TNT chief] Michael Wright has a tremendous reputation for running a filmmaker-friendly ship and did a lot to set my mind at ease," he says. "He made it known it would be a friendly and more supportive place. I’m certainly proud of what we accomplished, but not like I’m out to prove anything here. Whether doing a rewrote or directing a script, I just find the next thing I can be the most excited about and walk down that path and take that job. Why not jump back on? I’m certainly not going to compare it to the success of 'The Walking Dead'.”