Zombies are now taking over our homes.
Since it premiered on Halloween night two years ago, “The Walking Dead” has developed into a global television phenomenon that no one, not even the network executives who gave it the green light, expected.
“In a way we got lucky with ‘The Walking Dead.’ This series was first pitched with the major networks three years ago and they all rejected it. Because of the success of ‘Twilight,’ they wanted vampires, not zombies so series like ‘True Blood’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries’ soon followed,” recalled Fox International Channels territorial head Jude Turcuato during the media screening for “The Walking Dead” Season 3 at Enderun last Tuesday.
Turcuato added that the major networks found vampires to be more visually attractive unlike zombies who looked like decaying corpses and are nowhere near as cute as their animated computer game counterparts in “Plants vs. Zombies.”
“The major networks and many other people thought a TV series about zombies wouldn’t catch on but it did. Since, it first aired, the response to ‘The Walking Dead’ has been phenomenal and it’s now the highest rated show on Fox here in the Philippines and many other Asian countries,” he said.
Based on a monthly black-and-white comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, “The Walking Dead” chronicles the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The series was developed by acclaimed filmmaker Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green River”) for the American Movie Channel (AMC) before it was later picked up by Fox for international distribution.
In addition to fending off the predatory zombies, the survivors led by deputy sheriff Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) also have to deal with other equally dangerous human survivors that they encounter along their way. Hence, the tagline, “Fight the dead, fear the living.”
“One big reason for its following is its loyal comic book fanbase,” Turcuato noted. Given the huge following it has developed in its two year run so far, it seems that “The Walking Dead” has more than transcended its cult comic book following.
Deadline Hollywood (www.deadline.com) reported last October 15 that the season 3 premiere of “The Walking Dead” became “the most watched drama telecast in cable history” when it opened to a total of 10.9 million total viewers, a 50 percent increase over the show’s second season premiere.
“The Walking Dead” has also been honored with awards and nominations from prestigious award-giving bodies such as the Emmys, the Golden Globes, the American Film Institute, the Saturn, Critics’ Choice, People’s Choice, Teen Choice and many more.
The comic book series itself has won the 2010 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series and has been hailed by IGN Comics as “one of the best monthly comics available.”
“It is now the highest rated cable program ever and also one of the highest rated dramas,” Turcuato declared. “The series is definitely a big reason why Fox International is now the number one western general channel nationwide.”
When asked what fans of the series can expect from series, Turcuato admits that even he has not seen the entire season yet and is just as anxious as the rest of us.
“I would reckon that people would get more of what they’ve seen in the first two seasons, more suspense, more surprising plot twists and hopefully, even better storylines to keep the series fresh and exciting for everyone,” he enthused.
The youthful network executive admits he’s not big on zombies, though.
“Yes, I’m not a huge fan of zombies but a lot of people are so I’m not complaining,” he quipped.
Season 3 of “The Walking Dead” airs every Saturday starting Oct 20 on Fox. Fox is seen on Skycable Ch 50, Destiny Cable Ch 26, Cable Link Ch 51, Cignal Digital TV Ch 41 and over 275 cable operators nationwide.