Andrew Lincoln has reportedly quit "The Walking Dead".
The 44-year-old actor has starred as Rick Grimes in AMC's hit zombie TV drama since it began in 2010, but Collider reports that he is poised to leave the show mid-way through the upcoming Season 9 - meaning he'll only appear in six of the expected 16 episodes.
AMC are now reportedly offering a substantial deal to co-star Norman Reedus - who has played Daryl Dixon since the first season - in a bid to keep the original cast member onboard and persuade him to take over as lead.
Playing a main character in the show is a big commitment as it requires a lot of filming time, as well as promotional touring, and limits what other work the actors can do during the hiatus.
Lauren Cohan, who has played Maggie Greene since Season 2 of "The Walking Dead" recently made headlines after she negotiated a better deal on her contract to return for Season 9.
The show has already been commissioned for 13 seasons, but show creator Robert Kirkman previously revealed at San Diego Comic Con that Lincoln's character will not survive to the end.
He said: "I've said before, Rick does not survive to the end. It was years ago so you guys probably forgot, but I foresee there being more story after his eventual demise."
Lincoln himself also suggested the survival could be passed to his on-screen son Carl [Chandler Riggs] and would follow him and Lincoln also admitted he thinks the audience deserve an "end game".
He said: "There comes a point where there are too many grey hairs on your chin. I think the audience deserves an end game. It's a lot of time to invest in a story without some kind of resolution."