Is AMC trying to keep Glen Mazzara from talking about his exit from "The Walking Dead"?
Mazzara's publicist and AMC say no -- even if Mazzara isn't going into details about his departure. The showrunner has spoken to several outlets, including TheWrap, about the show returning Sunday for the remainder of its third season.
But Mazzara was a no-show Tuesday at a Television Academy panel about the series, which prompted speculation that he has been silenced.
"AMC's initiated a gag order," said a Wednesday tweet from "Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter, who worked with Mazzara on FX's "The Shield."
Sutter added: "Removing mazzara from press for fear his firing will pull focus & he may tell the truth."
In fact, Mazzara spoke to TheWrap just hours before the panel Tuesday. The New York Times and New Yorker's Vulture have also posted interviews with the showrunner.
"There is no gag order from AMC," Mazzara's publicist told TheWrap. "They are very supportive of him doing press for the remainder of Season 3, just as they have up to this point."
What Mazzara isn't doing, however, is going into specifics about why he is leaving TV's top-rated drama. Speaking to TheWrap, he addressed it only in general terms. He also talked briefly about his replacement, Scott Gimple.
"It's fine. I'm happy with the show and delivering my season and I'm just going to go on and do my own thing now," Mazzara said. "It's actually a pretty good, productive time for me."
Notably, Mazzara said he has not offered any advice to Gimple, previously one of his top writers on "The Walking Dead."
"I, you know, have been focused on delivering the end of my season and working on my own material," Mazzara said. "I haven't spoken with him."
Read into that what you will. (And look for the full interview later this week.)
In its announcement last month that Mazzara would leave "The Walking Dead," AMC cited "a difference of opinion about where the show should go." The disagreement involved the fourth season and beyond. Just two months prior to the announcement that he would leave the show, Mazzara told TheWrap he would love to remain with "The Walking Dead" until the end, "if AMC and the fans would have me."
Network representatives have declined to comment on why, exactly, Mazzara is leaving.
Even if Mazzara isn't talking about the reasons either, he has a vested interest in promoting the show any way he can.
At this point in the season, "The Walking Dead" is the top-rated drama on any network, cable or broadcast. Mazzara would like his show to end the season with that distinction, which no other cable series has earned. The season's sucess is a testament to Mazzara's fast-paced, more horrific vision of the show.
Sutter has previously weighed in on AMC's disputes with its showrunners, including "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner.
In August 2011, Sutter said the network fired the original "Walking Dead" showrunner, Frank Darabont, and entered into tense negotiation with "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan because Weiner had "held AMC hostage, broke their bank, budgets were slashed, s--- rolled down hill onto gilligan and frank."