Image Credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images; AMCIn an interview with EW, The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, Aliens) denies reports that director Frank Darabont fired the hit AMC show’s writing staff. She also confirmed that all of the principal cast — or, presumably, the actors whose characters are still alive at the end of this Sunday’s season finale — are signed up for multiple seasons of the zombie show.

Earlier this week, Deadline reported that Shawshank Redemption filmmaker Frank Darabont — who developed the Walking Dead for television and directed the pilot — had let go the show’s writers, including Murder One co-creator Charles “Chic” Eglee. But earlier today, Hurd refuted that allegation. “It’s completely inaccurate,” she told EW exclusively. “[In] the writers’ room, there are people that have set up other projects that will be their first priority if their own series is picked up as a pilot or if it’s a series. I think [Eglee] just decided that he wants to run his own show.”

Hurd said the Walking Dead will probably return in October. “I think Frank and Robert [Kirkman, writer of the Walking Dead comic and an executive producer on the show] will sit down early next year, to begin mapping it out.” She also confirmed that “every one of the principal cast is signed up for multiple seasons.”

So much for the writers and the actors. What about Greg Nicotero? The makeup effects legend created the look of the zombies on the show and played several of the featured undead. However, it is rumored he may soon be making his own directorial debut with an adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s horror book Drive-In? “We certainly hope he’ll be back,” said Hurd. “As with everything, it’s subject to availability. But he’s a very important member of the team as are his colleagues at [Nicotero’s effects house] KNB. KNB will still be [doing] our makeup effects.”

Finally, Hurd admitted that even she had been surprised by the success of The Walking Dead, which last Sunday scared up its biggest ratings to date. “Honestly, I think they went up because of [EW’s] cover article,” she said. “When you think about, it’s still genre, and a lot of people might think, well, it’s a zombie show it’s not for me. But we’ve found that it has broader appeal than initial expectations.”

You can check out a sneak peek at this Sunday’s Walking Dead finale “TS-19” below.

And you can also listen to this week’s EW’s TV Insiders Podcast, in which we preview the show’s highly anticipated finale.

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