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[TV] Was "The Walking Dead" Showrunner Actually Fired?

It’s no secret that AMC has fired two showrunners in less than 18 months from “The Walking Dead,” they’re biggest hit that also one of the most successful franchises on television. The December 21 departure of Glen Mazzara sent shock waves through the undead fan base already frustrated with the loss of co-creator Frank Darabont in July 2011.

The Hollywood Reporter is attempting to get to the bottom of the “mutual” split based on creative differences, as it was originally cited, and is reporting that Mazzara was straight-up fired.

Says the site: “One source says Mazzara’s shortcomings in running the series during the most recent third season became “abundantly clear … especially for the second half of the season.” This source says production was shut down “several times” because of a lack of material.

Mazzara declined comment but will participate in a January 11 AFI awards luncheon that will honor “Walking Dead” as one of 2012′s top shows. Maybe he’ll go on record by this weekend?

The midseason finale Dec. 2 lured 10.5 million total viewers and 6.9 million in the key adults 18-to-49 demo, crushing nearly all broadcast network shows.