In a job that's increasingly the TV equivalent of being named new Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII, AMC has named the new showrunner for The Walking Dead—its third in as many seasons, after the recent parting of ways with Glen Mazzara. It's Scott Gimple, Mazzara's apparent No. 2 and an executive producer who's been with the show since the second season, delighting the crew with the way his name conjures up a whimsical forest creature who engages in ritual S&M. That kind of joking around is likely verboten now that Gimple is firmly in charge, for now, with him scheduled to take over production at the start of season four. Gimple's tenure on the show includes writing the episodes "Save The Last One" and "Pretty Much Dead Already" (two of the biggest turning points of the mostly inert second season), while his non-Walking Dead credits include work on Simpsons comic books and creating the cartoon series Fillmore!, writing for short-lived series such as FlashForward, Life, Drive, and Chase, plus a co-screenwriting credit on Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, suggesting AMC may have finally found the just-happy-to-be-here showrunner it's been looking for all this time.
The naming of Gimple as Mazzara's successor comes shortly after this story appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, following up on how Kurt Sutter and Shawn Ryan—Mazzara's former co-workers on The Shield—blasted AMC for their mismanagement, suggesting that Mazzara was pushed out at the behest of Walking Dead comics creator Robert Kirkman. (Or, to put it in less diplomatic, more Kurt Sutter-y terms, "AMC sent me a gift basket filled with sour tastes, forbidden fruit, broken promises and the marinated tongue used to lick Kirkman's ass.") While the official network stance remains (of course) that the parting was "amicable," THR does quote from "insiders" who say that Kirkman was "one of several producers" who had issues with Mazzara—not least because of production shutdowns that occurred once it became "abundantly clear" that Mazzara did not have enough material ready. (Kirkman has responded only by tweeting that he finds it "upsetting to see [Sutter] ranting about things he knows nothing about," as it is so out of character for Kurt Sutter.) Can Gimple finally be the agreeably malleable company man that Sutter and Ryan believe AMC's been searching for? If history is any indication, we'll find out halfway through season four.