‘Man in the High Castle’ EPs on Showrunner Shakeup: ‘No One Would Choose to Build the Show This Way’

'Man in the High Castle': EPs Talk About Frank Spotnitz's Departure
Courtesy of Amazon

Amazon’s hit series “Man in the High Castle” saw the departure of showrunner Frank Spotnitz during production of its second season, and the executive producers told reporters that the show has been moving forward without a replacement.

“I’d say that we’re running in many ways like a republic, and in that sense, it’s very unique to this show,” said executive producer David Zucker at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills.

“There are senior powers in every aspect of the realization of the show, and that frankly is something Frank himself instituted. I don’t know how somebody could accomplish something of this ambition without putting incredible stock in what your cast has to say, to your keys, to your designers, to your directors. The contribution across the board, starting first and foremost within that writing room, is incredibly critical.”

Zucker admitted the process hasn’t been ideal, and that it’s a work in progress given that Spotnitz’s departure came while the show was in production. “No one would choose to build the show this way, and going forward, we’re going to figure out how we can best realize this show,” he said. “But at this point, we have a system that is working as good as we can make it, and we’re going to continue to try to find ways to improve it, and hopefully, the best shows possible. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.”

Spotnitz, who created the series based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, left the show in May. “It’s not some kind of coup or change in creative direction,” said Zucker. “What we’re all trying to honor is this course of narrative discovery that Frank so wonderfully initiated.”



Zucker told Variety after the panel there was no single issue that led to Spotnitz’s departure, and he emphasized that the template that he set remains largely intact.

“The show that he created, the trajectory that he set the series on is something we are really continuing and trying to realize to its fullest,” he said. “You reach those nexus moments of saying are we getting where everyone collectively wants to go and should we be approaching this in a different manner. Part of what Frank set in motion was a collaboration like I’ve never seen before. This show demands it.”

He indicated that there would be no new showrunner brought in for season two, which is still in production, but if it is renewed they would look to bring someone in at that time.

“We’re trying to learn, as we did in season one — how can we do this better. Every show goes through this.”

Season two of “Man in the High Castle” premieres December 16. Amazon has said that season one is the most-watched series on its Prime Video service.