Andrew Lincoln is reportedly set to leave The Walking Dead during season nine - and the news has come as a shock to those who can’t believe the show is still being made.
Lincoln, who plays lead character Rick Grimes, is reportedly going to appear in six episodes of the new series with Daryl, played by Norman Reedus, taking over as the main character.
And if the last few seasons are anything to go by, those six episodes will feel like 60.
The 44-year-old English actor, who made his name in This Life and Teachers, has become synonymous with the post-apocalyptic zombie thriller which wowed fans with its storytelling ambition and graphic violence.
Every episode seemed to feature tense scenes prefixed or finished with blood-splattering zombie killings.
But these days The Walking Dead is redefining boredom.
Lincoln's departure should be taken by those who are still tuning into the show as a sign to also call time on what is now a prolonged snooze-fest.
Ratings are unsurprisingly falling, while reviews are not nearly as positive as they once were. The producers appear to be milking The Walking Dead dry, yet they haven’t realised it dried up a few years ago.
From being a series which kept you on edge, making you yearn for more, it’s now a show which no longer realises its most successful period came when it played up to its post-apocalyptic zombie thriller genre.
Zombies are now an after-thought and viewers could easily be forgiven for forgetting The Walking Dead had anything to do with them in the first place.
The last two seasons have been a mix of parody and soap. Action scenes are amateurish, there are long spells where nothing happens, while much of the dialogue and its tone belong to a teen soap like the latter seasons of One Tree Hill.
There is a popular Family Guy scene where Peter Griffin declares his dislike for The Godfather because it “insists upon itself”. The same could be said for The Walking Dead.
When Lincoln walks out after more than 110 episodes, he will leave Reedus and Carol as the only remaining original characters. He will also leave a sinking ship, a show which had its heyday, but also a zombie show that has has forgotten its original premise, with no ending in sight.
Perhaps they could use Lincoln's salary to invest in typewriters and pay some monkeys to try to up come up with a better script.