December 1, 2010

'The Walking Dead' Cuts Writers Loose. No Writing Staff for Season 2?

According to Deadline, Frank Darabont has let go the entire writing staff on AMC's The Walking Dead and is considering delegating script work to freelancers for the second season. AMC, apparently, has confirmed in so much "that there will be changes to the writing staff" of The Walking Dead.

As drastic as the firing may seem, it's not unusual for such staffing changes to take place during the production of TV shows. In fact, it's common for freelancers to contribute scripts that are then rewritten and supervised by a controlling producer/writer/director such as Frank Darabont. One would not expect, however, for the staff of a successful show to be let go so suddenly.

I suspect many fans will raise an eyebrow and become quite wary regarding this news. The Walking Dead has been praised by many zombie fans for its strong writing and character drama. When we hear that the writers who contributed to the show's success are not coming back, we have to wonder if there will be a consistent writing quality going into the second season's 13-episode run.

Of the first season's six episodes, Frank Darabont wrote two episodes and Robert Kirkman (author of the Walking Dead comics) wrote one episode. Darabont, however, also rewrote and supervised the writing of the entire season by his staff. Given Darabont's clear creative control on the project, it is difficult to know how much creative input his writers actually had in The Walking Dead or to what extent they were simply work-a-day script writers filling in the gaps in Darabont's narrative. If Darabont does not have a permanent staff of writers on which to rely, however, how will he handle writing and supervising duties when the new season goes into production for double the amount of episodes?

Only time will tell. I'm not too worried now although I never like to hear of anyone losing a gig. Job security is a luxury in the world today, and I feel the pains of job-loss and uncertainty every year. Nevertheless, I'll keep an eye out for any developments in this story and bring them to you.

My hope is that the dead will continue to walk hard into the second season.