The Walking Dead show

Let’s get this out of the way: If you enjoyed the first season of AMC’s surprise smash hit “The Walking Dead,” be assured that the show picks up right where it left off when it returns tonight in all its cringe-making, nail-biting, gory glory.
The Walking Dead show
That included the well-publicized slashing of “Walking Dead’s” budget and dispatching of the show’s creator. Before we get to that, though, a review of “Walking Dead’s” first season — and it’ll be quick, since the “season” was all of six episodes. A nice little zombie show, yes, but not a ratings monster that would maul the competition.
The Walking Dead show
Unbeknownst to Rick, however, Lori hooked up with Shane after Shane convinced her (and himself, maybe) that Rick had perished in the zombie outbreak.
The Walking Dead show
With Shane spurned, the world upside down and guns everywhere, the show takes sexual tension to a whole new plane.
The Walking Dead show
Comparisons will, and should, be drawn between “The Walking Dead” and FX’s “American Horror Story.” The best TV shows, though, usually turn into cultural mirrors by accident. That’s what’s happening to AMC’s other marquee dramas. The first show I thought of when I saw the “Dead” pilot was “Jericho,” a post-nuke thriller that aired for two seasons on CBS (and whose co-star Lennie James also had a part on “The Walking Dead”).
If you’re thinking “Deliverance,” rest assured, so are the show’s producers. “The Walking Dead” shows every sign of continuing to be in capable hands, even though those hands no longer belong to Darabont, who created and ran the show its first season. Darabont reportedly refused to make cuts to “The Walking Dead’s” budget, and it’s hard to blame him. After all, the show is bigger than “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad,” with 6 million viewers tuning in for the finale and the largest 18- to 49-year-old audience (whom advertisers love) of any scripted cable show in history. How many shows can make that promise?

So despite what you’ve read, cable’s newest prestige network isn’t dead yet.
Owned by Gale Anne Hurd—the film and television producer behind such hits as The Terminator, Aliens, and AMC’s The Walking Dead, which returns Sunday evening for its second season—the sleek and modern space combines the antique exposed bricks of the 1906 building with cutting-edge vellum light fixtures. The Walking Dead has proven to be AMC’s biggest hit, luring 6 million viewers to the season finale of its dystopian drama, which envisions the attempts of a band of disparate strangers to survive in a world where nearly everyone they encounter wants to eat their flesh. The show, a hit for the Comic-Con age and based on a best-selling graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, has been so successful that the cable network is spinning off a live after-show—Talking Dead—to air following encores of each episode.

Financially, AMC’s parent company, Cablevision, opted to spin off AMC and its sister cable channels with an IPO; AMC likewise opted to make itself look as budget-conscious as possible, reportedly slashing the budget of Season 2 of The Walking Dead by as much as $650,000 per episode. (It’s worth noting, additionally, that it’s the first show that AMC has produced entirely in-house.) Gale Anne Hurd (inset), producer of The Walking Dead on AMC. , Gene Page / AMC; inset: Getty Images

Hurd said that she was told simply by AMC, “We’re making a change.” (As for budgetary reasons stemming from Season 1 overages, Hurd said, “We were on budget last season; in fact, we were under budget.”) “There’s speculation from all sides, but the show’s going to be fine.”

Hurd and Darabont, who have worked together for years, remain close.

“It was shocking,” Hurd said. “We’ll continue to have those moments,” Hurd said. “To give them credit, AMC didn’t look at this show and say, ‘Oh, this is a horror show for those FearFest fans, and it doesn’t need to be polished … There’s a lot of emotion.”

“I remember at one of the very first meetings we had with AMC, they said, ‘A zombie show on AMC is very different from a zombie show on network television. If we’re going to have zombies, there’s a reason for them. Zombie drama aside, Hurd is no stranger to beating the odds. Hurd went on to produce such films as Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2, and a long string of action projects. What’s interesting is that The Walking Dead is perhaps the most anti-technological show in existence. “There’s an emotional context: When you find a safe haven, what happens?” said Hurd. You find a place that seems lost in time where there’s still electricity and there’s still humanity. “It’s a great show for Luddites,” Hurd said with a laugh.

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