News broke yesterday that Frank Darabont was stepping down as showrunner for AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead. This latest update on who is set to step up to fill Darabont’s shoes is far less surprising than the news that Darabont was bowing out to begin with.

Deadline reported today that sources close to the series say Glen Mazzara will take over as showrunner for The Walking Dead. This comes in the wake of the surprising news that Darabont was stepping down. At this point, it’s unknown (to the public, anyway) whether or not Darabont is walking away from the series completely, perhaps to work on some other project, or if he’ll continue to work on The Walking Dead in some capacity.

It’s also unclear exactly why Darabont stepped down to begin with, but I’m really hoping it’s because he has something else in the works, and not due to creative or budget issues with the show (or problems between the series and AMC). I’m starting to get used to waiting a long time for AMC series to come back. Breaking Bad’s fourth season was delayed. Mad Men’s fifth season has been delayed until 2012. I really hope this shift in leadership doesn’t push off the return of TWD. Good shows are worth the wait, but waiting more than a year is no fun.

Mazzara seemed like a likely candidate to step up as showrunner for TWD, as he was initially hired on to serve as Darabont’s “Number 2” on the writing staff. Mazzara knows a little something about adaptations, having created the Starz drama Crash, which was a spin-off from the Oscar winning film of the same name. Mazarra’s small-screen writing credits include Hawthorne, The Shield and an episode of Life.

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