‘The Walking Dead’ producer recalls how TV networks were “afraid” to make show

"It's hard to begrudge everybody who said no, but it is satisfying now to look back on it."

One of The Walking Dead’s executive producers has recalled how TV networks were “afraid” to make the show initially.

Denise Huth said many networks were reluctant to take on the show at first and were not convinced by the show’s premise. It was later picked up by AMC and became their biggest hit to date.

In an upcoming interview which will air on The Walking Dead Season 1: Beginnings Maraton on AMC, Huth reflected on the show’s beginnings.

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She said: “I first became involved with The Walking Dead way back in 2005. I worked for Frank Darabont [The Shawshank Redemption filmmaker], and he told me about this comic book that he found in a comic book store. And as he was telling me the story, I remember saying, ‘That’s a television show.’ It just had all the great elements of a serialized drama.”

“It kicked around for about five years before AMC was finally brave enough to say ‘yes’ and actually put it on the air. It was one of those things that hadn’t been done before,” she said, adding that the first season “sort of broke every rule of what television is supposed to look like.”

Norman Reedus in 'The Walking Dead'
Norman Reedus in ‘The Walking Dead’. CREDIT: Jace Downs / AMC / The Hollywood Archive

Huth added: “I think everybody recognised it was good, but I think they were afraid that this was going to be possibly an over-expensive show.” Huth said many feared “the audience wouldn’t be there.”

“It was a gamble. We certainly couldn’t say to anybody, ‘This is gonna be a huge hit!’ We were just praying five people would watch. It’s hard to begrudge everybody who said no, but it is satisfying now to look back on it.”

Hurd also reflected on the first season after AMC took up the series.”That whole first season just felt like this really cool summer camp that we all got to go to and run around Atlanta and dress people up as zombies.

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“It was this amazing dream come true of shooting this little project that didn’t belong to anybody else yet, it was just ours. It was this cool thing that we got to make over the summer.”

She added: “Maybe nobody would watch it, and maybe nobody would care, and maybe we’d never get to come back and make another one. So we had just a lot of fun with it and a lot of enthusiasm for the absurdity of what we were doing in so many ways. It was a blast. We had the best time.”

The season 10 finale of The Walking Dead is due to air on October 4, after being delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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