AMC renewed The Walking Dead for Season 4 last week, but with a significant catch: showrunner Glen Mazzara will not be at the helm once Season 3 finishes up.
Considering how Frank Darabont also left the series early in Season 2... and that contract negotiations turned ugly with Matthew Weiner of Mad Men... while AMC reportedly shot down the request of Breaking Bad producers when they lobbied for more than the eventually-agreed-upon final 16 episodes, two famous showrunners have publicly called out the cable network.
Wrote Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy) on his blog:
"AMC is run by small-minded, bottom-line thinkers who have no appreciation or gratitude for the effort of its creative personnel. Time and time again we see events like what happened today with Glen Mazzara. They continue to disrespect writers, s--- on their audience and bury their network.. Even Zombies need consistency. Mad Men and Breaking Bad will be gone soon. So will AMC."
Added Shawn Ryan, who created The Shield and worked it with both Mazzara and Sutter:
"Common knowledge that AMC cut Breaking Bad shorter than it should have been. Now you have creative differences with biggest hit's savior... 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?"
And the answer to that question will go a long way in determining the future of the network.
The Walking Dead Season 3, meanwhile, returns with new episodes on February 10.