'Walking Dead' returns for Season 4, Mazzara does not

With ratings that made it the top cable series of 2012 - and one that beat out some broadcast hits - it’s no surprise that AMC has renewed the popular zombie series The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman's comics. It is quite a shock that showrunner Glen Mazzara, is not returning. Mazzara replaced Frank Darabont last year (after a very public firing) but Mazzara made this official statement on Dec. 21:

"My time as showrunner on The Walking Dead has been an amazing experience, but after I finish season 3, it’s time to move on. I have told the stories I wanted to tell and connected with our fans on a level that I never imagined. It doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the decision was an amicable one but, according to a statement from AMC, "Both parties acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion about where the show should go moving forward and conclude that it is best to part ways."

Let's not forget that AMC has a bad habit of pulling shenanigans like this, and has led to some vocal disagreement within TWD ranks before. As of yet, no replacement for Mazzara has been chosen but THR says someone on the writing staff may be in the running.

Should we speculate on whether that someone could be Kirkman himself, Gale Anne Hurd or Greg Nicotero?

The remainder of Season 3's eight episodes will start airing on Feb. 10. And Season 4 will premiere some time in October. Also look for an extra half hour of the popular Chris Hardwick-hosted, The Talking Dead to air at 10 p.m. ET, immediately following the new episodes.

-Larissa Mrykalo