In a surprising move, Frank Darabont has stepped down as the executive producer and showrunner of AMC’s hit zombie series ‘The Walking Dead’, according to Deadline.

Darabont helped put the show together and was there every step of the way including a recent panel appearance last friday at the San Diego Comic Con. Mainly a feature director, Darabont spent 5 years trying to get ‘Dead’ on television and also directed it’s pilot.

The rumor is that Darabont was never able to quite get used to the daily pace it takes to produce television projects, which is something that is very different from the feature film world. After the successful first season on AMC, he tried to dismiss the entire writing staff to go with freelance writers, but he ultimately stayed with the traditional television model and hired veteran producer Glen Mazzara (‘The Shield’) as his second-in-command.

Currently in production on season 2, it’s not clear if Darabont is completely off the show or if he will remain in some type of advisory role. The second season of ‘The Walking Dead’ is set to premiere October 16 on AMC.

Nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Drama, ‘The Walking Dead’ is a post-apocalyptic saga that follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln, Love Actually), who searches for a safe haven and, hopefully, a new home, far from the undead that now roam the earth hungry for human flesh. Each episode explores the challenges of life in a world overrun by zombies, and the toll it takes on the survivors who now find themselves going to extremes just to see another day.

‘The Walking Dead’ is based on the popular Image Comics’ comic book written by Robert Kirkman. The series premiered on AMC Fearfest Halloween night (2010) and immediately became the most watched drama series in cable’s history among Adults 18-49 with 3.5 million viewers. It also gained a following among critics (from People to Vanity Fair) who have hailed it as one of the best new series of the year.