The Walking Dead nearly had no zombies


The Walking Dead fans don’t know how lucky they are.

When creator Frank Darabont first pitched the idea to TV bosses, it’s fair to say they suggested some, err, tweaks. Like no zombies.

Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd says the team took the idea to NBC. Apparently, the network’s response was: “Do there have to be zombies?”

The show is based on a long-running comic book series.

The first episode, shown in 2010, is about a policeman who wakes from a coma to find that the world has been overtaken by zombies.

Now it’s going into the seventh season as a huge success.

It has the highest total viewership of any series in cable TV history.

Gale Anne Hurd was talking at a masterclass at the Edinburgh TV festival.

She says once it became clear that zombies are indeed an essential part of a show about a zombie apocalypse, the execs had another idea.

They suggested getting the two main characters to “solve a zombie crime of the week” instead. Like a version of CSI: Zombies or a buddy cop drama.

Or, in other words, the same as every other show on TV.

Frank Darabont took his idea elsewhere.

AMC agreed with his vision and the zombie-fest fans know and love was born.

But Gale Anne Hurd says it’s a mistake to think the show is actually focused on zombies.

She thinks that people who don’t watch it, don’t realise that “it’s not about the zombies, it’s about the humans”.

She says: “It is a story about characters on a journey into this new world, constantly trying to figure out, not only how to survive, but what’s important to them.

“Very quickly we realize that it is not the zombies you have to be afraid of, it’s the other humans.”

The show is back in the UK on 24 October.