AMC Greenlights ‘The Walking Dead’

Frank Darabont will produce series based on post-apocalyptic Robert Kirkman comic

Last Updated: June 25, 2010 @ 8:33 AM

AMC is moving from “Mad Men” to zombies.

The cable network announced Monday that it has greenlit “The Walking Dead,” a sci-fi drama from writer, director and executive producer Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “Green Mile”) and based on a Robert Kirkman comic book.

“The Walking Dead” will focus on a group of post-apocalyptic survivors and their day-to-day struggles, ethical and otherwise, to deal with a variety of challenges, which include the cannibalistic undead.

“It doesn’t do it justice to call it a zombie series,” said Joel Stillerman, executive VP of programming, production and digital content for AMC. “It’s really a social drama based around a group of survivors.”

AMC has ordered six one-hour episodes of the show, which will premiere in October as part of its Fearfest scary-movie programming lineup, which typically draws the network some of its highest ratings of the year.

“We now have a scripted original drama to support our horror lineup in the same way “Broken Trail” supported our Westerns,” noted AMC president Charlie Collier.

Production on the series will commence in June in Atlanta, with Gale Anne Hurd (“Terminator,” “Aliens”) and Charles “Chic” Eglee (“The Shield,” “Dexter,” “Dark Angel”) also signed on as executive producers.

Casting is currently under way, but Jon Bernthal (“The Pacific”) has already been put into a supporting role.

Looking to expand and sustain an original series lineup that hasn’t grown since “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” established themselves as Emmy perennials, AMC also has the thriller “Rubicon” set to premiere this summer.

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