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Why Didn’t HBO or NBC Want ‘The Walking Dead’?

The Walking Dead HBO NBC
HBO / AMC

In the past, we’ve heard about networks passing up some great dramas now and again, like when ‘Breaking Badalmost went to FX, before landing on AMC as the Emmy-winning bad-ass drama we all know it to be. But did you know that before AMC scored even bigger with Robert Kirkman’s ‘The Walking Dead,’ HBO and NBC were in the market for the zombie-thriller as well? What made them pass on something that’s become such a cultural phenomeon?

The world would have been a very different place if AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead,’ now melting our faces weekly with its third season had ended up on NBC. Perhaps more conflicting still, the Robert Kirkman, originally-Darabont-produced series also had a shot of ending up on HBO, which could have featured the show with even more gore and adult content than it has now. So why wouldn’t either network have gone for it?

According to ‘The Walking Dead’ executive producer and FX guru Greg Nicotero’s interview with The Huffington Post, both NBC and HBO had a rather steep condition that producer Gale Ann Hurd refused to budge on. Believe it or not, they wanted a ‘Walking Dead’ with less violence and gore! Rather than “tone down” the series, Hurd opted to continue shopping the project, which eventually wound up on AMC. Nicotero went on to extoll the level of trust AMC places in the show, especially in its third season:

They totally get this show. Right from the beginning, they’ve been completely trusting and supportive of what we’ve been trying to do with this series .

We spent a million and a half on that prison set. And all the months that that took to build, AMC never once checked up on us. They never flew an executive or an accountant out to Georgia to make sure that we were spending that money the way that we said we would. Now that’s trust.

Certainly, ‘The Walking Dead’ as we know it would have been nigh-impossible to make work on NBC, but it’s interesting to ponder what an HBO version might have looked like, considering the adult content they sometimes host even more maturely than AMC.

What say you? Are you happy that ‘The Walking Dead’ went to AMC, even if the series isn’t always perfect? How are you liking the third season so far? Give us your thoughts in the comments!

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