Walking Duh: AMC gives ‘Walking Dead’ companion series a pilot order

Guess what? AMC has given a pilot order to its currently untitled “Walking Dead” companion series.

What? You'd assumed the “Walking Dead” companion series had already just been given a series order? Well, not exactly.

Written by Dave Erickson and “Walking Dead” EP Robert Kirkman, the companion series pilot will shoot in late 2014, with AMC demurring on casting and filming locations. Erickson would serve as showrunner should the project continue to move forward. Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert would all be executive producers.

“Almost from the beginning of ‘The Walking Dead” on AMC, fans have been curious about what is going on in the zombie apocalypse in other parts of the world. In fact, beyond requests for zombie cameos, it”s the question I get asked the most,” blurbs AMC President Charlie Collier. “Obviously, we all take our stewardship of the original franchise incredibly seriously and we, along with Robert, Gale, David and now Dave, are all proceeding with extreme care in order to ensure that we are offering fans something truly compelling, engaging and distinct.  We”re thrilled to be taking this next step with these remarkable partners.”

Basically, all that anybody is saying about the companion series is that it will be a different location and a different set of characters, but presumably the same hungry zombies. [The lack of carryover character is why we're calling this a “companion series” and not a “spinoff.” We're professionals, so we'll abide by this rule for a while. You can feel free to just call it a spinoff.]

“There are many corners of ‘The Walking Dead” universe that remain unseen in the shadows. Being given the opportunity to shine a light into those corners and see what lurks out there is an absolute thrill,” states Kirkman, as if he's never had the opportunity to shine a light into the dark corners of a world that he created on the page. “I know the fans are anxious to hear what Dave and I have been cooking up for this new universe of ‘The Walking Dead,” and I'm happy to be one step closer to sharing it with them.”

Adds Erickson, “I”ve been fortunate to have collaborated with both Robert and AMC on past projects and I”m thrilled to join them again, along with Gale and David, to build upon ‘The Walking Dead”s” already epic narrative.”

TV's top show among adults 18-49 for the past two years, “The Walking Dead” will return to AMC to start its fifth season on October 12.

“Better Call Saul,” AMC's other high profile spinoff from an established series, will premiere in 2015.