With The Walking Dead about to finish its first season this Sunday, how is executive producer and guiding light Frank Darabont celebrating the show's huge success? By firing the series' entire writing staff.
According to Deadline, Darabont canned all the writers for the show, including executive producer and second-in-command Charles "Chic" Eglee. It's not unusual for TV show writing staffs to go through changes between seasons, and sometimes the staff is even "laid off" temporarily during a hiatus. But Darabont's move is more surprising, as is the news that he might not even retain a staff for the show's second season.
Instead, Darabont may use freelance writers to pen the scripts for season two rather than keeping a full team of scribes on the payroll. When you look at the credits for the show's first season, it kind of makes sense: Darabont himself wrote two of the six episodes and was heavily involved in rewriting or co-writing the other four. Of those, two were written by outside writers, one was penned by Glen Mazzara, and the fourth was written by Robert Kirkman, creator of the comic book on which the show is based. So it doesn't appear that the full-time staff was a necessity.
If he does plan to use only freelancers, however, Darabont could run into problems with the Writers Guild, which frowns upon that sort of thing on a network series. And with AMC ordering 13 episodes for the second season, the workload may be much heavier—possibly requiring Darabont to keep a bunch of writers around all the time anyway.
No final decision has been made yet on how this will shake out, and there's still time to iron it all out, since AMC doesn't plan to launch season two until around Halloween of next year. We hope that Darabont knows what he's doing, especially since The Walking Dead has been so freakin' awesome so far, but what kind of signal does it send to fire a hit show's entire writing team?