The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd appeared earlier this week at the Edinburgh International TV Festival and revealed just how different the AMC mega-hit could have been – had it never joined forces with AMC in the first place. As Variety reports, Hurd said that show creator Frank Darabont originally brought the show to NBC, where he had an overall deal. The result, Variety noted, was pretty much the platonic ideal of what you would expect a network television executive’s response to be:
According to Hurd, their response was, Do there have to be zombies [in it].” NBC then asked Darabont if the show could be a procedural in which the two main protagonists would “solve a zombie crime of the week,” she said.
The Walking Dead is far from perfect, but it’s at the very least imperfect in ways that are uniquely, fiercely its own. Shoehorning Robert Kirkman’s iconoclastic comic about the undead into a quirky, crime-of-the-week network show sounds … well, it actually sounds a whole lot like what The CW did with Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s iZombie, and that show’s actually done well for itself. Still, when we already live in a world that’s managed to make crime procedurals out of being Ichabod Crane (Sleepy Hollow), sharing a world with all manner of fantastical creatures (Grimm), traveling back in time from a fascist future (Continuum), existing in multiple realities (Awake), and actually being Satan himself (Lucifer), yeah, it’s probably for the best The Walking Dead got to do its own thing.