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Did Frank Darabont quit WALKING DEAD because of MAD MEN pay raise?

Did Frank Darabont quit The Walking Dead because of Mad Men's pay raise by AMC? Many people in Hollywood have been speculating that is a big factor for Darabont's departure. The LA Times reports that AMC has pushed to make cuts on both Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, which "came as a surprise to the creative forces behind those popular series."

These budget cuts come 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."

Sony Television, which is behind Breakign Bad, was so annoyed by these cuts that they were considering shopping the show to other cable networks, including FX. This is understandable when AMC's offer for the fifths season included only six or eight episodes instead of the usual 13. Thankfully, a new deal is in the works. AMC had to cut about $250,000 per episode for its second season. Darabont has been replaced, but the network declined to comment on speculation that he forced out in part over a disagreement about the show's new budget. 

AMC President Charlie Collier strongly denied these speculations and stated:

"We're investing more than we ever have before. The fact that future seasons of 'Mad Men' were going to be expensive is not a surprise to us." He was also quick to defend the network against complaints about its recent dealings with producers. "We've taken some of the most expensive, riskiest shows around and nurtured them and managed to grow our network."

Collier did not get into specifics, but said "The viewer will see we're making shows that will look like a movie every week."

What are your thoughts on this, do you think Darabont left because of the budget cuts? I am hopeful that The Walking Dead will maintain the same level of quality this next seaon, What are your thoughts?

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