5:44pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Kurt Sutter, Shawn Ryan Blast AMC Over 'Walking Dead' Showrunner Exit
Former Shield writers/exec producers Kurt Sutter and Shawn Ryan took to Twitter on Friday to voice their support for friend and former colleague Glen Mazzara after the showrunner parted ways with AMC's The Walking Dead.
AMC on Friday announced that its ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead would return for a fourth season -- and without Mazzara, who became the second showrunner to exit the zombie drama in as many years.
"Both parties acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion about where the show should go moving forward and conclude that it is best to part ways," AMC said in a statement. "This decision is amicable, and Glen will remain on for postproduction on season 3B as showrunner and executive producer." (Filming on season three already has concluded, with the second half of episodes set to return to AMC in February.)
Sons of Anarchy creator Sutter took to Twitter late Friday to voice his support for Mazzara and blast AMC -- which has a history of rocky relationships with its showrunners.
"AMC is run by small-minded, bottom-line thinkers who have no appreciation or gratitude for the effort of its creative personnel," Sutter wrote. "Time and time again we see events like what happened today with Glen Mazzara. They continue to disrespect writers, shit on their audience and bury their network. Mazzara took the work-in-progress that was Walking Dead" and turned it into a viable TV show with a future. Without him, that future is dim. Showrunners are not development executives, we're not cookie-cutter douchebags that you plug into a preexisting model. TWD will suffer. Even zombies need consistency. Mad Men and Breaking Bad will be gone soon. So will AMC. I hope their fucking stock takes a dive and the shareholders line up [AMC president and CEO Josh] Sapan, [AMC parent Cablevision founder Charles] Dolan and [AMC president and GM Charlie] Collier and shit in their open hands. Cunts."
Sutter's comments come more than a year after the showrunner quit Twitter following his vocal support for former Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont, whom Mazzara replaced. Sutter, in August 2011, wrote: "No one else wants to fucking say it, but the greed of Mad Men is killing the other two best shows on TV -- Breaking Bad and Walking Dead," added Sutter, referring to AMC's then-protracted negotiations with Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan.
Ryan, meanwhile, broke a holiday-timed Twitter silence to express his concern about whether Mazzara's departure would hurt AMC in the long run.
"Breaking my Twitter silence to comment: AMC, WTF?" Ryan wrote.
"Common knowledge that AMC cut Breaking Bad shorter than it should have been. Now you have creative differences w/ biggest hit's savior?" he added.
"With FX, Showtime, HBO, Starz, Cinemax, A&E, TNT and others to sell to, it's a real question now why good show runners should sell to AMC?" he concluded before returning to Twitter silence.
What do you think about Mazzara's departure? Hit the comments with your thoughts.