UPDATED: AMC’s year got off to an awkward start, beginning with very public contract negotiations with Mad Men. Then came the unexpected departure of showrunner Frank Darabont from The Walking Dead, and the revelation that the network was apparently playing hardball with Breaking Bad over a shortened final season. Toss in the audience-frustrating season finale of The Killing, and the network looks like a genuine three-ring circus, albeit a circus defined by moral ambiguity. Last night, Sons of Anarchy showrunner Kurt Sutter drove his metaphorical motorcycle into this metaphorical circus and metaphorically shot the elephant so he could cook it on his metaphorical spit. Metaphors!
Sutter took to Twitter in a series of messages that directly attacked AMC and Mad Men showrunner Matthew Weiner for their role in Darabont’s departure. He began: “why darabont got fired — weiner. he held AMC hostage, broke their bank, budgets were slashed, s— rolled down hill onto [Breaking Bad showrunner Vince] Gilligan and Frank.” Then the claws really came out: “no one else wants to f—ing say it, but the greed of Mad Men is killing the other two best shows on tv — breaking bad and walking dead.”
Sutter concludes, rather starkly: “Darabont reacted strongly to slashed budgets. he made mistakes, he was fired. no creative in town will trust AMC to back up their artists…i don’t know MW, got no beef with him. just hate that Darabont is being demonized. no one has the balls to tell the truth. MM gutted AMC.” (Responding to the allegations, a spokeswoman for AMC told EW: “Nothing could be further from the truth. We respect Kurt as a writer, but not as our CFO.”)
Sutter, for his part, has continued to clarify his allegations on Twitter, noting most recently, “This is not me vs. Matt. the issue is that amc should not have compromised their other shows to appease his $$ demands. it was bad business.”
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich