Television executives are notoriously dumb. In fact, here are 40 actual notes given by network executive that prove how completely moronic they can be. And yet, none of those network notes including “We want them to come off as bimbos, but don’t make them stupid” is as idiotic as the suggestion an NBC executive once made to Frank Darabont and Robert Kirkman before they’d agree to pick up The Walking Dead pilot.
As Robert Kirkman told Jim Rash on Sundance’s The Writer’s Room:
[The Walking Dead] actually did almost get made at NBC. It didn’t get made because when the pilot was turned in, the famous story is one of the executives said, ‘This is awesome. I really love this. Does it have to have zombies in it?
Yes, NBC wanted The Walking Dead with one baffling change: No zombies.
Fortunately, Kirkman and Co. decided against allowing a network to air The Walking Dead:
You couldn’t have done that kind of show at that network. We were very concerned early on what kind of gore we were going to be able to film and what kind of boundaries we were going to be able to push with the show. And AMC has this thing called Fearfest, and so to ease our minds, they just edited together this four minute clip of the most horrendous bits of gore that you could see on the network.
If you haven’t seen it yet, The Walking Dead’s stint on The Writer’s Room was not particularly revelatory otherwise, except that Kirkman said that — despite his popularity on the show — Norman Reedus is always completely terrified that Daryl Dixon about to be killed off. Kirkman also reiterated what we already knew about the spin-off series, which is that it will be set in another part of the world with completely different characters under completely different circumstances.