AMC has given a green light to The Walking Dead, a six-episode zombie show based on Robert Kirkman's Image Comics series.
The show comes with a huge sci-fi pedigree: Executive producers include Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption), Gale Anne Hurd (the Terminator franchise) and Charles "Chic" Eglee (Dark Angel), among others.
John Bernthal (HBO's The Pacific) has been cast as a supporting character, but the lead has not yet been cast, and AMC denied rumors that Eli Stone's Jonny Lee Miller would star.
The show, about the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, is slated to debut in October. Following is the full official announcement.
To which we say: Brains!!
THE WALKING DEAD LIVES ON AMC
Network Greenlights Series Based On Comic Books by Robert Kirkman
Season One Premieres In October
Tied To the Network's Popular Movie Franchise FearFest
Three-Time Academy Award Nominee Frank Darabont
Serves as Writer, Director and Executive Producer
Charles "Chic" Eglee Signs On As Executive Producer
New York, NY - March 29, 2010 - AMC announced today it has greenlit The Walking Dead as a six-episode series based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics. Kirkman serves as an executive producer on the project and three-time Academy Award-nominee Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) serves as writer, director and executive producer. Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, Aliens, Armageddon, The Incredible Hulk), chairman of Valhalla Motion Pictures, serves as Executive Producer. David Alpert from Circle of Confusion serves as Executive Producer. Today's announcement also includes the addition of Charles "Chic" Eglee (Dexter, The Shield, Dark Angel) as Executive Producer, and actor Jon Bernthal (The Pacific, The Ghost Writer) who will portray the character Shane.
The Walking Dead begins production in June in Atlanta with six, one-hour episodes for season one. The series is set to premiere in October 2010 during AMC's Fearfest, the network's annual blockbuster marathon of thriller and horror films. Fearfest (formerly known as MonsterFest) is celebrating its 14th year by airing 14 consecutive days of themed programming with more than 50 films. AMC announced development of The Walking Dead in August 2009 and announced the pilot in January of this year.
"AMC strives to make original shows that play like movies and The Walking Dead is a perfect complement to the network's celebrated movie franchise, Fearfest, which has always been an important destination for our audience," said Charlie Collier, AMC President. "With its depth of story and the remarkable talent attached, The Walking Dead gives us an opportunity to raise the bar significantly within this popular genre, and continue our commitment to being the home of premium programming on basic cable."
"The Walking Dead is that rare piece of material that plays on many levels," says Joel Stillerman, Senior Vice President of Programming, Production and Digital Content. "Kirkman's series brilliantly captures the social commentary and ongoing human drama of the zombie apocalypse; and let's us kick a little zombie you-know-what from time to time."
The Walking Dead tells the story of the months and years that follow after a zombie apocalypse. It follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safe and secure home. The comic goes on to explore the challenges of life in a world overrun by zombies who take a toll on the survivors, and sometimes the interpersonal conflicts present a greater danger to their continuing survival than the zombies that roam the country. Over time, the characters are changed by the constant exposure to death and some grow willing to do anything to survive.
AMC's Joel Stillerman, senior vice president of original programming, production and digital content, Susie Fitzgerald, senior vice president scripted development and current programming, and Vlad Wolynetz, vice president of production, series and movies, oversee the development and production of the new drama.
Today's announcement marks the fourth original series greenlight for AMC. The first three were Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Rubicon. AMC is the only network, in television history, to win three consecutive Golden Globe awards for best dramatic series for Mad Men (2008, 2009, 2010). The first two seasons of Breaking Bad awarded the outstanding lead actor Emmy award to Bryan Cranston for his portrayal of lead character Walt White. Rubicon, a conspiracy thriller starring James Badge Dale (HBO's The Pacific), premieres this summer.
AMC reigns as the only network to ever win the Golden Globe® Award for Best Television Series - Drama three years in a row and the only basic cable network to win back-to-back Primetime Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade from the most comprehensive library or creating acclaimed original productions, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories. AMC's original stories include the Emmy® Award-winning dramas Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and insightful non-scripted programming such as AMC News. AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with curated movie franchises like AMC Hollywood Icon and AMC Complete Collection. Available in more than 95 million homes (Source: Nielsen Media Research), AMC is a subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, which includes sister networks IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and Wedding Central. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Story Matters Here.