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TV Execs Originally Didn’t Want Any Zombies In The Walking Dead

by : Lucy Connolly on : 31 Aug 2020 13:55
TV Execs Originally Didn't Want Any Zombies In The Walking DeadAMC

Imagine, if you can, a world where The Walking Dead didn’t exist. At least, not the post-apocalyptic zombie horror series we’ve all come to know and love.

Imagine instead a programme of a similar nature, but without any zombies whatsoever. It would be impossible, right? An inconceivable task that, let’s face it, makes little to no sense.  I mean, who would Rick Grimes and co. be protecting themselves from if there were no zombies involved?

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But anyway, back to why I’m asking you to imagine such a horrifying reality, and it’s all because a few notable TV executives originally didn’t want to involve zombies if they could help it – and actually asked the show’s creators if it could be done without the presence of the now-infamous walkers.

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In a new interview that aired during The Walking Dead Season 1: Beginnings marathon on AMC last night, August 30, The Walking Dead executive producer Denise Huth recalled how television networks were ‘afraid’ to make the show before it was picked up at AMC.

Inspired by the 2003 comic book of the same name, from Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, The Walking Dead takes place after the onset of a worldwide zombie apocalypse and centres on sheriff’s deputy Grimes, who wakes up from a coma after the world has been taken over by zombies.

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Huth noted how she first heard about the comic book in 2005, when director Frank Darabont told her about it. ‘And as he was telling me the story, I remember saying, “That’s a television show”,’ she said. ‘It just had all the great elements of a serialised drama.’

That it did, but it took years for the show to be accepted by a major network, with Huth explaining:

It kicked around for about five years before AMC was finally brave enough to say ‘yes’ and actually put it on the air. It was one of those things that hadn’t been done before.

the walking deadAMC
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So just why exactly were these networks afraid to put The Walking Dead on the air? Well, first of all, there was the issue of zombies.

In a previous 2016 interview with Variety, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd recalled Darabont approaching NBC with an early version of his script, only to have the following question posed to her: ‘Do there have to be zombies?’

‘I think everybody recognised it was good,’ Huth explained. ‘But I think they were afraid that this was going to be possibly an overly expensive show because of the makeup effects involved, the fact that we needed to be outside, [and] the number of extras we would need.’

You can check out her interview in full below:

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Looking back, Huth admitted it’s ‘hard to begrudge everybody who said no’ to the show because it was a ‘gamble’, adding: ‘We certainly couldn’t say to anybody, “This is gonna be a huge hit!” We were just praying five people would watch.’

However, she did say it’s ‘satisfying’ now to look back on the times they were rejected, especially considering just how successful the TV series has become.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Film and TV, Now, The Walking Dead, TV, zombies

Credits

The Walking Dead on AMC/Twitter and 1 other
  1. The Walking Dead on AMC/Twitter

    @WalkingDead_AMC

  2. Variety

    ‘The Walking Dead’: Negan to Be ‘Gamechanger’ in Season 7, Exec Producer Gale Anne Hurd Says