The Walking Dead to be a TV Show on AMC?

Variety is reporting that the cable network AMC is close to a deal that would adapt Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead to an ongoing cable series with Frank Darabont to write and direct.  Darabont is best known for writing and directing The Shawshank Redemption.

It’s no secret that The Walking Dead is an iFanboy favorite and when I describe the book to people, I often paraphrase what Kirkman told me years ago at a con, “It’s like what happens after the zombie movie ends….”  For that reason, I never thought that The Walking Dead could work as a movie, but as a cable series? Yes, please.  Years ago we would have screamed that HBO had to do it, but now with the success of another iFanboy favorite, Mad Men, the cable channel AMC seems to be stepping up to the game.

It doesn’t seem like this deal is done though, so let’s not count our chickens before they’re zombies, but still, think about it….how cool could this show be?  You thought that website where you can make your own Mad Men avatar was fun? Think about the “Make your own Walking Dead Zombie avatar” site….

Comments

  1. This could be the greatest news ever.

    If it happens, which why wouldn’t it? AMC is 2/2 when it comes to original programming, so far. Let them gamble on this! Walking Dead is perfect as a television show and not as a film. Just imagine that the first season could go right up to the prision. Then the next season will be about from moving into the prision until the massacre. Then the third could be what’s going on now.

    Perfect idea!

  2. EPIC!!!!!!!

  3. @TheNextChampion

    That plan would work, since more shows go downhill in season three.  It’s perfect!

  4. Please let this happen! It will cause such…

    MAYHEM!!!!!!!!!!!! 

  5. Doesn’t AMC also do Breaking Bad? Or am I confused?

     

     

    Regardless… OH GOD YES PLEASE 

  6. @Slockhart: Then that would mean Walking Dead has been downhill since #49.

  7. "AMC is 2/2 when it comes to original programming, so far"

     2 is a REALLY small sample size.   

  8. @r3v: That two would be ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Mad Men’. I think AMC knows when to sweep threw the muck and find gold.

  9. I think it would be better on HBO but AMC is a close second, at least they can focus more on the characters and less on zombies eating people

  10. Fantastic news!!  Hope it happens.  No other ongoing title is more deserving of a television show than this.

  11. Awesome.  I was just telling a friend whom I introduced to The Walking Dead that it wouldn’t work as a movie, but possibly a TV show.  Here’s hoping this takes off and is done right.

  12. You know, I like Kirkman’s work but I never actually care about or feel attached to any of the characters. But this could be interesting…if I actually liked zombies.  I hate zombies stories generally (except Shaun of the Dead-which is one of my favourite movies).  That being said, if they do it right, it could probably be really cool.

  13. I think Nathan Fillion should play Rick.

    What?! Someone was bound to say it eventually.

  14. Man, have you guys seen the trailer for their up-coming revamp of "THE PRISONER"?!?! Between that and "MAD MEN", I’d say I’m SUPER-stoked to see this land on AMC. Darabont’s "THE MIST" was a fantastic film as well, and one which, I think, is similar to "WALKING DEAD" tone-wise in terms of chronicling the interactions amongst members of a small band of survivors having to deal with these intensely harrowing, apocalyptic survival situations, y’know?

    And "SHAWSHANK" wasn’t half bad either! lol:D

  15. @r3v: But it’s a really high percent!!!!!!!!!

     

    😉 

  16. Reasons I’m not going to get excited yet.

    1. It’s close to a deal, means there is no deal.

    2. If the budget isn’t reasonable, it’ll look crappy.

    3. If the writer strays to far from the books, it won’t be "Walking Dead"

    4. If the writer stays to close to the books, it won’t work as T.V.

    5. I’m Canadian can anyone tell me what the rules are for AMC? Is it like network, cable or premium cable, because I think it can only work in an HBO Premium Cable environment. 

    Despite those few possible issues and many more I haven’t bothered to type, I’m being hopeful but I’m tempering that hope with a lot of pragmatism. 

  17. @WonderAli:

     Amen to THAT, man!! l:D

  18. Hopefully this starts a trend for comics to tv. If Y: The Last Man or Preacher are going to go live action they would be suited better in a one hour long running TV series then crammed into a couple of two hour movies. Watchmen would have worked better this way(not saying the movie is bad)

    who won’t love a Christopher Nolan produced HBO Batman series or a minute Spider-man show on a major network. Just think of the Gwen Stacy story told over 22 shows and what a season finale that would make…

  19. Walking dead fits perfectly for a TV show premise. You wouldn’t need to big of a budget and you have a large cast of characters which is better suited for a television series. If this goes well, it’ll be pure perfection.

  20. Robert Kirkman calls me "glasses".

    True story.

  21. @Josh-I moderate his message board, plus I dogsat for him…twice

  22. "Glasses"

  23. Touche

  24. What I like about this plan is that, if all of these parts were played by actors, I might finally be able to tell them apart or remember their names.

  25. So weird, as I was just writing up how amazing Darabont’s The Mist was. He is absolutely pitch-perfect for a Walking Dead TV series. I hope this works out.

  26. After thinking about it for a second longer, I only have one problem.

    How are they going to adapt the violence into this? If this was HBO or Showtime they could get away with it. But on basic television; even if it is AMC; I doubt we’re gonna see a man getting eaten alive….or a baby getting shot….or a horse getting rip to shreds…or…well you get the picture.

  27. That’s not the point of the story at all. The story is about loss. You can do that without gore.

    Besides, Breaking Bad isn’t suffering from the censors.

  28. @TNC AMC isn’t "Basic television" and really only self-censors anyway. It can be as bad as it wishes to be. More Cable channels should do this. 

    I am unaffected by this, sadly. Never cottoned to the books, but maybe I’d check this out.  

  29. @josh: Most TV exec’s arent going to care what the story is truly about. Actually that probably goes for most business men in the media. You think something cared about the subtle nuances of a show like ‘Breaking Bad’? No. They care about the money, the advertisement, the star power, and they follow the people closely to see what are it’s strengths and weaknesses. The ‘art’ or true story of a product like Walking Dead is dead last on their list.

    Not to say I don’t agree with you. There is a hell of a lot more to WD then just the gore. But that’s something the executives at AMC aren’t paying attention too.

    @Prax: Well in terms of writing or dialogue. Then yes AMC isn’t as censored as like a prime time network. Heck FX gets a away with a ton of cursing and suggestive elements. But we’re talking about violence here. How long have we lived in America and had a problem with violence and sex in TV/Film?

    Not that I agree with the censoring. But the FCC and the like will be on this show if they keep up with the gore.

  30. @TNC from way up at the top

    I guess what I said was a little harsh, considering that I’ve only read through trade 9.  However, trade 9 starts with issue 49, and I’d definitely say I incredibly bored.  Now I just have to wait for Amazon to ship Vol. 10 to see if it gets interesting again.

  31. @Slockhart: It wasn’t harsh. To be honest I was a little disappointed that Kirkman went from two main characters back to ten within two issues. But I am still looking forward to see where the 10th trade leads me.

  32. @TNC

    I just meant harsh in that I’m saying what’s happening right now is bad when I’m 15ish issues behind.  I’ll stand by my distaste for volume 9 for as long as I can. 

  33. Errr… 10ish issues behind… I don’t like math at 2am.

  34. I’m worried about AMC self censoring the show. There is some gory fucked up stuff that absolutely has to be kept.

  35. Just remember: The show will also be in black & white. You can get away with a lot more gore in black & white. I’m fine if they have to cut away from some stuff, just as long as it looks gritty as hell and they have some great guys doing special-effects and make-up for the zombies.

  36. Of course… I’m assuming they’ll keep it black & white. I mean, Darabont had a complete black & white version of Mist, so this shouldn’t be too different for him.

  37. @TNC I’m a little unclear on what you’re referring to as it’s well documented that we are amongst the most violent TV programing in the world. Heck, Michaelangelo wasn’t allowed to have nunchuks in TMNT when broadcast in Britain. (The show itself being renamed to Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles in the UK.) The problem in America has always been sex is worse than violence.

    As well, the FCC has no jurisdiction on the content of cable programming. Certainly if enough people complain to the FCC, that could possibly change (and the FCC would certainly like it to) but legally the FCC can not regulate the content of subscription-based services (Satellite Radio, Cable TV, the Internet, etc.) because if a consumer is unhappy with the content, they have the option to cancel their subscription.

  38. @prax Yea in the 80’s, violence isn’t that much of a deal here now. The only things that get censored here are what ever Jeremy Clarkson says each week, or Russell Brand. 

  39. Oh man, "The Mist" was hilariously bad.  I didn’t know Darabont directed that.  I was literally laughing through half the movie.  I hope that he doesn’t treat The Walking Dead as he did King’s novella.

    The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile were amazing films though.

  40. Ok, great news let’s talk casting… Jada Pinkett-smith for Micchone and Ron Pearleman for Abe. That’s all I got. Talk amoungst your selfsame

  41. @PraxJarvin and @TNC:  Television programs are censored as a courtesey to their sponsorors.  There is not a safe harbor practice found in cable programming.  As far as the issue of sex and violence, that is a culture issue and deals with what people find patently offensive.  Censorship is a sticky issue.  Wish I would have stayed awake in Media Law now.

    This is a great idea.  This series is set up perfectly for 12 episode seasons.  Wish somebody would call me glasses *kicks pebble with hands in pockets.

  42. @ato220: Maybe because it’s early in the morning but just a funny thought came to mind. It would be hilarious if like, a sponser working for Pepsi got hold of the comic. He just sees the carnage lay before him and just curls into a ball and weeps.

    I imagine many people in the advertising firm get desensitized by Kirkman’s work.

  43. BOSS!

  44. Great news!!!  I hope everything works out for Kirkman.  He is a cool guy who has worked hard for his success.  For his next trick an Invincible cartoon maybe? On HBO of course, it worked for Spawn.

  45. @BenBugenig: I agree the show should be in black & white but I don’t see it happening.  Most fanboys would rather have it black & white but I’m sure it’ll be in color to appeal to a wider audience.

  46. Darabondt is the man, so I can’t imagine this won’t turn out well. 

  47. This could be pretty farkin’ sweet.

  48. This would be awesome.Buy hopefully if they do decide to do it, they’ll make hour long episodes

  49. One of my favorite comics comes to one of my favorite channels.  I’ve always said that if The Walking Dead came out as a weekly drama series it would do Lost level numbers.

    But fuck can we not call it a "graphic novel"? Its a monthly comic series for christsakes.

  50. I’m cautiously optimistic.  I wonder how much creative input Kirkman would have.  Is he going to have to move to Hollywood and give up his backwoods Kentucky lifestyle?  I wonder if he will still give bearhugs.

    If this happens, it may well become the most depressing show on television and I will watch it religiously.

  51. This could be awesome.

  52. I think they could easily dial the gore to whatever level the sponsors and the network agree to and still make a series work (on AMC). Hell, I watched GI Joe this weekend, a PG-13 movie, and people’s heads were being blown off. It’s all in how you display it.

    stuclach makes a good point about how depressing the show would actually be. But then I started to wonder: so much of the book is about us not knowing what’s going to happen — who will live or die, etc. So, if the series uses the book as a template, I can honestly see myself getting BORED by the show. I mean, think about it: we’ll all know when so-and-so dies or loses a hand. Normally, I would be the one saying that it’s not about the shocks but about the character development. But i have to be honest here: WD, for me, is not as often about the character development as it is about the setting and the feeling that anything could happen.

    And with TV, I wonder if it won’t be a bit harder to make the audience feel that feeling of "anyone could die at any time." We honestly don’t know if Kirkman will kill Rick in the very next issue. If Kirkman decides to kill Rick, he just does it. But as a show… they have to cast an actor in the lead role, there are contracts, there are stipulations to said contracts if they want anyone with any kind of star power, there are execs and sponsors who believe that the star needs to be there… it gets a lot more complicated than one guy deciding "I’m gonna do this now."

    This is not to say I think it will be a bad show or they shouldn’t make it. This is just my feeling on it. I could see this not working as well as the comic. 

    On the other hand, Darabont’s pretty awesome, and he may be able to milk some nuance from these characters that I’ve sometimes found missing in Kirkman’s original work.

  53. @daccampo – I think that if they are careful to follow the tone of the book, but not the exact plot points, they can maintain that sense of "anything can happen" that is so important to the book.  Lost has (apparently) structured their actor’s contracts in such a way as to allow them to kill off some relatively major characters with few negative repercussions, so it can be done.

    My primary fear is that without enough Kirkman input this could turn into a mystery style drama that is as much about the zombie’s origins as it is about the characters.  I don’t think that would accurately represent the best aspects of the comic.

    Regardless, I will be genuinely surprised if this ends up being boring. 

  54. Looks like the only difference between AMC and HBO at this point is the word "fuck," so I guess this’ll work.

     

  55. @stuclach – that’s true… although I’m not sure that death on LOST has the same impact. They can kill anyone in the present but still have the actor appear in flashbacks (or be resurrected). It’s a little different than a book like WD, where I’m admitting that the sudden shocking losses are a large part of what keeps me reading. 

    That said, I’m sure you’re right — I think the trick would be to not stick too close to the events in the book but to maintain the correct tone. And I’m also hoping darabont can add some subtlety that Kirkman doesn’t always have. And that’s possible. I didn’t think Stephen King’s short story had nearly the same character development and nuance that Darabont’s film version of The Mist had. for example.

     

  56. I already got the song for the opening credits:

    ‘Paranoid Android’ by Radiohead.

  57. @daccampo

    Stop ruining my nerdgasm with facts and reality!

  58. @TNC  Not too sure about that choice.

    @Daccampo  I think it could be done well if not done in standard season length.  If it was done more in the Cable season length, which it obviously will, it can work with the death logistics.  I think that we need to explore a new possibility: Cameos!  How fun would Zombie Sherman Hemsley be?  Ultimately I’m proud of the iFanbase for not turning this into a deliberation on how Nathon Fillion should be cast as Rick….

  59. this could be SO awesome!!!

  60. Yes please.

  61. I was looking through the archives to see if there was a Walking Dead podcast that I could link people so they could know what it was about and I’m really surprised to see there hasn’t been an iFanboy show on it given how much you guys love it.

  62. @daccampo – I haven’t seen "The Mist", but I plan on checking it out.  I hear good things.

    @Heroville – There is an article here: 
    http://www.ifanboy.com/content/articles/Robert_Kirkman___The_Boy_Made_Good 
    And a mini about one of the trades here: 
    http://www.ifanboy.com/podcasts/video/iFanboy_Mini_-_Episode__88_-The_Walking_Dead_Vol__8_-_Made_to_Suffer

    The guys give WD its due pretty consistently, so an episode focusing on it may be a bit redundant (but I’d watch it). 

  63. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Not a fan of the series, but as a fan of the network and Darabont, I’m in! 

  64. I wish AMC would pick up the rights to Fables too. 

  65. My perfect season 1 cast would be:

    Rick – Rupert Penry-Jones or Peter Sarsgaard

    Lori – Molly Parker

    Michonne – Michael Michele

    Tyrese – Chad L. Coleman

    Dale – Glenn Morshower

    Andrea – Stephanie Jacobsen*

    Glenn – Aaron Yoo

    Hershel – Geoff Pierson

    Maggie – Kelli Garner

    with

    Shane – Dominic Purcell

     

    *Doesn’t look like Andrea, I know, but she has the chops and the toughness to pull it off.  Sadly, she just signed on for Melrose Place.

     

     

  66. @PMag – Good call on Tyrese!

  67. A man with the name Cutty would know!

  68. Y’know, I think Walton Goggins would be a killer pick for Rick. Doesn’t look like him but it doesn’t really matter.

  69. Spoiler:

     

    Will someone shoot a pregnant woman in the stomach in this?

  70. Walton Goggins?  Interesting.  He was very good on The Shield, but I can’t picture him as Rick.  What is it about him that reminds you of Rick?  I’d be interested to know.   

    Idris Elba would be the perfect Tyreese, but he’s probably too mainstream or quasi A list for television.

    Mark Strong as The Governor would be numero uno, baby.  Picture him with the hair, the eyepatch, and the evil smile.  Couldn’t get any better.  Some people I know who also read the book think Danny Trejo would be good as The Gov, but he lacks a certain charming characteristic that would be needed to believe he’s capable of organizing and running Woodbury.

  71. @PMag  If Danny Trejo could combine his tough guy characters with the way he acted in spy kids i think he could pull off the charm of the governor

  72. I’m picking Walton Goggins purely for the last season of the Shield. His interactions with his family were fantastic, he could pull Southern family easy, he’s certainly believable as a bit reckless..

  73. @ Roi – Oh snap.  I had forgotten about Spy Kids.  Yes, yes.  Hmmmm…

    @ miyamoto – I stopped watching The Shield after Season 4, so all I know of Shane is that he kills his friends to save his own ass.  He was hard to like.  I should put the rest of the seasons in my Netflix queue.

  74. My biggest concern is not whether or not they would tune down the gore factor.  I don’t care if the stuff is shown on camera or not.

    I also am not concerned with the network ‘losing the story,’ or anything along those lines.  This would get made because of the story, and how it is about life after the immediate zombie apocalypse.  That is a pretty hard idea to screw up.

    I am not even worried about them ‘not getting character x right.’  They can change the characters it is not the comic book, and it does not have to be the same thing to me.

    I am concerned about how the zombies look and the budget allocation for them.  Cheesy looking zombies would certainly turn off the viewing public.  They don’t have to do much, but when they are on screen, they gotta be believable.

  75. Just heard this at my LCS and think it would be great.  I was worried about the violence though.  Even though it’s not insanely violent every issue, when it is, it’s necessary.  Just wondering.

  76. needs to be on HBO or showtime.  

     they can’t compromise on the language, violence and nudity.  it’s all essential.  I’m serious.

  77. I’m thinking about the sword to the neck. How the hell will they put that in? And is there going to be a CG stub?

  78. I do not understand why people want a carbon copy of the comic. 

    You already have the book.  Is this format inadequate for some reason?

  79. Mr. Kirkman just tweeted: I promise it will be good, or we wouldn’t be doing it. Darabont is the man!

    Promising. 

  80. @MisterJ  I don’t that we’re calling for a carbon copy of the book, I think we’re looking for a similar theme.  Otherwise, it’s just another zombie show.  The book isn’t neccessarily character driven in that you do not rely on the characters actions, I would say it is mostly reactionary to the environment.

  81. Powers on FX and The Walking Dead at AMC. Which are you more excited about?

    The Walking Dead for me.

  82. @ato220-What other zombie shows are you referring to?  Not saying that there are not any, but I only know of them in movies.

    All I am saying is that I see a lot of posts throwing out the generic; ‘They better put x in or it will suck’ statement.

    The only two things that matter to me is that 1)they take it seriously, 2)they keep the same general theme, and 3)that the zombies look better than a college film.

    I personally do not care if they even use the same characters.  I am interested in the survival story, not any specific character.  WD is not about the characters, it is about the human struggle to survive.  As long as that is covered it should be okay.

  83. This is the best news I have heard in a long time.  This series is so suited for TV (not network) that it will be HUGE!!!!!!!!

  84. Is Nathan Fillion in it? How about Megan Fox?

  85. Megan Fox? No. No no no no and no. Double no. Triple no. Quadruple no. No, okay? No.

  86. The Walking Dead? In Episodes?! AMC?!

    This is great news but I think I’ll wait for trade — err, DVD season 1

  87. @s30: That’s 17 no’s.

    She won’t be on the show if you say it twenty times. 🙂

  88. They’d better not bail out on the gross stuff, and I’m talking about all of the references >=|

  89. If AMC can pull it off as an HBO-like show, then I’m all for it. We zombie lovers have so many movies, we’ve needed a great zombie TV show for a very long time. Come on Frank Marshall, you have a good track record in my book, don’t let me down. 

  90. I meant Frank Darabont not Frank Marshall. My bad. LOL