While I was on vacation last month, I missed some major news about "The Walking Dead," one not surprising, one a bit more so. I may as well catch you all up in case you missed it, too:
Not surprising: AMC has renewed its biggest hit ever for a fourth season. That's about as big a no brainer as any zombie out there would know. Season three, the drama is averaging 9 to 10 million viewers a week in first airing with 18-49 ratings comparable to some of the biggest broadcast hits such as "The Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family." The mid-season finale in November drew 10.5 million viewers.
It returns next month, Sunday, Feb. 10, for eight more episodes. We quickly find out how the Dixon brothers escape a major pickle: one captured, one accused of treason by the Governor, surrounded by angry townsfolk and a frightened Andrea.
Surprisng: Show runner Glenn Mazzara, who took over for Frank Darabont during season two, was cut last month. Two show runners cut on a show as popular as "The Walking Dead'? Highly unusual.
Two of Mazzara's buddies who worked with him on "The Shield" tweeted nasty comments directed at Kirkman and AMC:
Shawn Ryan (Last Resort) tweeted, "It's a real question now why good showrunners should sell to AMC."
Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy) declaring that AMC had sent Mazzara "a gift basket filled with … broken promises and the marinated tongue used to lick Kirkman's ***."
This comment in the story should alarm us about the second half of the season:
One source says Mazzara's shortcomings in running the series during the most recent third season became "abundantly clear … especially for the second half of the season." This source says production was shut down "several times" because of a lack of material.