Before it landed at AMC, The Walking Dead danced around a few other networks first—with NBC fairly close to picking up the series before letting it pass. So why did NBC drop out?
Fox exec Kevin Reilly, the former NBC decision-maker who ultimately passed on the series, explained his reasoning to Deadline. Basically, after reading original co-creator Frank Darabont's pilot script, Reilly felt it was too much of a long shot to try. At the time, the network was among the worst ratings-wise, and he didn't want to take a chance on a series with such an unproven concept. Plus, on a network, they would've had to tone down some of the darkness and violence that Darabont was pitching.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
"But we were at the bottom of the ratings. I told him: 'Really Frank, a zombie thing?!' ... [At NBC it] would have probably been a little less intense and a little less interesting to the audience."Considering the series is one of the highest rated and most acclaimed on television now, I don't think anyone is complaining about how it all worked out. But, you have to think NBC would've loved to have this one in their stable. Reilly went on to say the major broadcast networks now have to compete with cable shows like Walking Dead, so they're trying to push the limits as much as possible now:
"When you put on a thriller you have to compete at that level... We must match the intensity, otherwise we'll pale in comparison."Are you glad the series landed at AMC, or do you wish it had moved forward at a major broadcast network?