To put it mildly, this has not been a banner week for AMC. While the current season of "Breaking Bad" remains successful in the ratings, the TV news cycle has been dominated by reports that Frank Darabont has stepped down from "The Walking Dead," with Glen Mazzara tapped to succeed him as the new showrunner. The network has remained silent on the transition, until today.
At the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour (via The Hollywood Reporter), AMC's head of original programming Joel Stillerman confirmed Darabont's departure, but Stillerman declined to say why Darabont left or whether he would remain involved in the series.
“I can report that production is not [going] to miss a beat and we’re going to make our air date,” related Stillerman. “What I’ve seen [so far] and what I’ve seen coming down the pike, we’re going to take what we started last year and really move it to the next level. It’s going to be an incredible season.”
“[Darabont] wrote [and] directed a brilliant pilot and his fingerprints are all over [creator] Robert Kirkman’s source material and we’re incredibly grateful for his contributions,” continued Stillerman.
Earlier this summer, AMC also faced a firestorm of criticism for the season finale of "The Killing," which did not present the resolution of the Rosie Larson murder case as the majority of viewers expected.
“For everybody who was frustrated, we hear you,” said Stillerman. “We would have taken a different approach to managing the expectations… about what was going to happen. It was never intentionally meant to mislead anybody. Our goal was to create a brilliant piece of character-based story telling and to try to do something [different]. We think we got there but we [definitely] didn't manage expectations the way they should have been managed.”
Stillerman added “I can say definitively, you will find out who killed Rosie Larsen in season two.”
AMC also announced that its next original series, "Hell on Wheels" will premiere on Sunday, November 06. The series takes place shortly after the Civil War and follows a former Confederate soldier Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount) who is bent on revenge following the murder of his wife during the war. "Hell on Wheels" is also set against the backdrop of the expansion of the railroad. Dominique McElligott, Colm Meaney, Ben Esler, Philip Burke, Eddie Spears and Common co-star in the series.
The network also announced AMC Digital Studios, a new hub for web series developed through AMC. The first web series under this banner will be “The Trivial Pursuits of Arthur Banks,” starring Adam Goldberg and Jeffrey Tambor. The series will debut on August 22 as a co-release of AMC and Hulu.