As it gears up for its seventh season, it's hard to imagine a time when "The Walking Dead" wasn't dominating the basic cable airwaves and internet message boards. But back before its 2010 premiere on AMC, "TWD" was just like any other show, existing solely as a pilot script looking for a network to give it a home. And it turns out that one prospect wanted to take the series in an entirely different direction from its current state.
That's the word from "Walking Dead" executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, who spoke about the series during a recent appearance at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. In addition to discussing what to expect in season seven, Hurd also spent some time delving into the show's history, revealing details like the fact that season four addition Michael Cudlitz (who plays Sgt. Abraham Ford) actually auditioned for the show back during in its first season. But one other bit of intel stood out: The fact that NBC was one of the show's early suitors -- and basically wanted to turn it into a "CSI" clone, swapping in zombies for regular criminals.
As Hurd tells it, NBC was initially interested thanks to its existing development deal with "TWD" co-creator Frank Darabont. Darabont showed NBC the script, she said, but they had some notes. Here's how Variety explains the strange negotiation process:
According to Hurd, [NBC's] 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.
A "Walking Dead" without zombies doesn't sound like "The Walking Dead" at all, and it's kind of hilarious to imagine Rick Grimes swapping his sheriff's hat for a Sherlock Holmes-style deerstalker cap while he solves walker-related crimes. Thankfully, that version never materialized, and we wound up with the show we know and love (or love to hate, depending on recent terrible developments) today.
Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC