By Yvonne Villarreal
5:32 PM CST, February 27, 2013
There will, indeed, be a new governor in town on the set of "The Walking Dead." AMC finally confirmed Wednesday that Scott M. Gimple will take over as showrunner and executive producer for the series' fourth season.
Reports had circulated as early as December that a change of management was coming to the AMC ratings workhorse. Gimple, who has been on the show's writing staff since the second season, replaces Glen Mazzara -- and marks the show's third showrunner in its four-season run. (Mazzara had replaced Frank Darabont after he left early in the second season.)
So Joel Stillerman, AMC's head of programming, has naturally grown used to ushering in new heads with canned statements. In the case of Stillerman, specifically, he kept it brief: "Scott's voice has been an integral one since he joined the show."
Robert Kirkman, who created the comic book from which the series was adapted and serves as an executive producer, offered this: “Scott has been an essential part of this show since he came aboard at the very beginning of season two. He's contributed to guiding this show in a substantial way that has resulted in a lot of the key scenes and storylines fans have dubbed signature moments of 'The Walking Dead.' I am thrilled to begin work on a brand new season of ‘The Walking Dead’ with Scott at the helm, and I truly believe we could be embarking on what will be the best season of this show yet.”
Despite the turnover, fervor for the zombie drama has not died down. It's midseason finale in December brought in more than 10.5 million viewers. And its return earlier this month brought in 12.3 million viewers.
"I'm thrilled to continue the tradition of the spectacular, cinematic, horrifying, exciting and emotional storytelling of 'The Walking Dead,'" Gimple, whose previous credits include ABC's "Flashforward," said in a statement. "I'm a huge fan of the comics, and started with the show on the other side of the set, as an avid viewer. Over the past two years, it's been an incredible privilege making such great television with the best cast and crew I've ever worked with – I can't wait to make some more.”
Production on the new season will begin May 6, with the 16-episode season set to roll out in October.