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AMC has officially named Scott Gimple as the new showrunner on The Walking Dead.
The network made the formal announcement Wednesday after news leaked that the executive producer who joined the zombie drama during season two would take over for departing showrunner Glen Mazzara. In addition, the series has upped Greg Nicotero and Tom Luse from co-executive producer and producer, respectively, to executive producers.
Matt Negrete (White Collar) also has boarded the series as a writer and co-producer for season four as the drama bulks up in the writers room and Gimple assembles his staff. Megrete’s credits include Power Rangers, Unfabulous, Kim Possible and Fillmore.
“Scott has been an essential part of this show since he came aboard at the very beginning of season two. He’s contributed to guiding this show in a substantial way that has resulted in a lot of the key scenes and storylines fans have dubbed signature moments of The Walking Dead,” said Robert Kirkman, who created the comics the series is based on. “I am thrilled to begin work on a brand-new season of The Walking Dead with Scott at the helm, and I truly believe we could be embarking on what will be the best season of this show yet.”
Gimple joined the series during season two and penned the third and seventh episodes, co-writing the 10th episode with Mazzara. He wrote the sixth and upcoming penultimate episodes of season three.
PHOTOS: ‘The Walking Dead’s’ Most Shocking Deaths
When Mazzara was promoted to showrunner after Frank Darabont‘s abrupt dismissal ahead of the season two premiere, he tapped Gimple as his No. 2. Mazzara took over through season two, after Darabont already had completed production on the first few episodes of the season.
Mazzara will remain on board as showrunner through the second half of season three, overseeing postproduction on the series, with filming already having been completed on the final eight episodes of the ratings juggernaut. Gimple will take over when Walking Dead resumes production later this year for season four.
Mazzara departed the zombie drama when the series was renewed for a fourth season, citing creative differences. However, sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Mazzara’s shortcomings in running the series became “abundantly clear … especially for the second half of the season,” with production shut down several times because of a lack of material.
STORY: Glen Mazzara Reveals Why He Left ‘Walking Dead’
“I was sort of the hired gun coming in to support the creator of the show, and through odd circumstances I ended up becoming showrunner,” Mazzara recently told reporters at NATPE. “You had to sort of grab the wheel as if we were going through a storm,” he added, “and I’m happy to say I was able to contribute, and we got through the storm. But when I think people involved with the show are looking at the long-term plan, they want something different — and what those differences are, you would have to ask AMC.”
Gimple’s credits include Chase, FlashForward and Life. He’s repped by UTA and Thruline. Negrete is also repped by UTA.
“Scott’s voice has been an integral one since he joined the show,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC exec vp original programming, production and digital content. “Greg Nicotero is a true artist whose work is simply brilliant, and Tom Luse has really created the machine that allows this very large show to get made week to week. We congratulate all three in their new roles on the series and look forward to ramping up production on season four.”
Added Gimple, who penned Sunday’s upcoming episode: “I’m thrilled to continue the tradition of the spectacular, cinematic, horrifying, exciting and emotional storytelling of The Walking Dead. I’m a huge fan of the comics and started with the show on the other side of the set, as an avid viewer. Over the past two years, it’s been an incredible privilege making such great television with the best cast and crew I’ve ever worked with. I can’t wait to make some more.”
Production on season four — which will again consist of 16 episodes — will begin May 6 in Atlanta.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit
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