A zombie crime show? That's what The Walking Dead was almost in danger of becoming. The AMC horror drama is not just one of the most popular shows on cable, it dominates the entire TV landscape. But that may have not been the case had NBC had their way, with a concept that sounds like it would have gotten canceled within weeks. Luckily for all involved, fans included, cooler heads prevailed and NBC did not pick up the show.
This is probably for the better, just for the sheer fact that AMC gets away with showing a lot more gore than network TV would ever commit to. But according to Variety, NBC was the first network approached with the idea of turning Robert Kirkman's popular comic book into a weekly series. And they wanted something different than what was on the page.
Frank Darabont, who created the series for television, had an overall deal with NBC. So he presented them with The Walking Dead pilot script first. Their initial response to the idea was 'does it have to have Zombies in it?' Yes, of course, was Darabont's response. NBC's next request was that The Walking Dead be turned into a crime procedural. They wanted a pair of protagonist detectives to 'solve a zombie crime of the week'. And that sounds just crazy. Of course the show was pitched elsewhere soon after that.
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd revealed this crazy bit of trivia while promoting this fall's The Walking Dead Season 7. She was speaking at Edinburgh Intl. TV Festival masterclass, where the subject of Negan and the big Season 6 cliffhanger also came up. Though Negan's victim has been talked to death, literally, she did bring some new insight into what we'll see when the show returns.
"In this new season Negan is the game changer, and whatever we did someone was going to be unhappy...So we promised we will be picking up where that left off; we are not going to draw it out."
Even with NBC wanting to remove the zombie element from the show, Gale Anne Hurd acknowledges that this is first and foremost a human drama. And that idea will continue as the story grows and expands. This fall, fans will be introduced to new worlds and new characters. And at the core of it all will be that very human element. When it comes to The Walking Dead, it's not the zombies you have to worry about. It's your fellow man.