Mad Men More Dangerous Than the Walking Dead

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?Remember how Walking Dead director/showrunner Frank Darabont quit the show, almost immediately after appearing totally fine a few days prior at a Walking Dead panel at SDCC? And remember how the prevailing reason for his leaving was that he was just too stressed by the workload of a 12-episodes series as opposed to a movie? Well, the Los Angeles Times has another theory, and it’s a bit more depressing:

Hollywood is wondering if Don Draper and the rest of the “Mad Men” gang have drunk and smoked their way through cable channel AMC’s programming budget.

Over the last two weeks, AMC has pushed to make cuts on two of its other big shows — “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad” — moves that came as a surprise to the creative forces behind those popular series.

The push to rein in costs comes only months after “Mad Men”
creator and executive producer Matt Weiner received a huge new contract
to continue the show about swinging 1960s ad men for at least two more
seasons. His price tag of close to $10 million a season has those who
work on rival shows grumbling that they are being asked to foot the bill
for Draper’s martinis.

Television, the studio behind “Breaking Bad,” was so irked at the terms
AMC offered for a fifth season of the show, which included making only
six or eight episodes instead of the usual 13, that last week it
approached other cable networks, including FX, about buying the program. Cooler heads have since prevailed and AMC and Sony are trying to hammer out a new deal.

In the case of the zombie smash “The Walking Dead,” AMC will be slashing about $250,000 per episode for its second season. Frank Darabont,
the well-regarded executive producer of “The Walking Dead,” was also
replaced last week, just days after he appeared at the Comic-Con
convention to greet the show’s fan base and promote upcoming episodes.

AMC declined to comment on speculation that Darabont was forced out
in part over a disagreement about the show’s new budget. Darabont did
not return a call seeking comment.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I’d love for this not to be true, but it all sounds pretty plausible to me. AMC funneling cash from other shows to make the Mad Men makers happy? Frank Darabont getting pissed that his hit show is getting financially shit on to appease some other show? Yeah, seems right to me. I’m desperately worried about what a significantly cheaper Walking Dead might look like, but if you want to find a silver lining, maybe without that cash they’ll be forced to focus more on the character interactions instead of nonsense like the CDC from the end of the first season? Because really, that elaborate set and shitty explosion effects didn’t particularly help the show there.