Walking Dead Season 2: Will it Flop?

21 Oct

This past Sunday night ended a year-long wait for the much-anticipated renewal of one of the most popular television show in history. It’s a statement I can make without hesitation as the numbers speak for themselves. On sunday night the Walking Dead premiered to an unprecedented 7.3 million viewers. That is a number that now sits in the record books as the highest rated telecast in cable history.

This is great news for AMC who is hoping to make the Walking Dead their personal project. However in the process of doing so they have alienated one of the greatest hollywood screen writers actively working in Frank Darabont. The choice to cut ties with Darabont was made half way through the production of the second season. This action, although it’s too soon to say may have negative long-term effects on the popularity of the show as Darabont was in many way consider the major creative force behind the Walking Dead, making AMC decision to part ways with Darabont curious.

Frank Darabont

The reason or reasons that AMC let Darabont go are unspecific.  It is known that AMC intended to cut the budget of each episode down from 3.4 million to 2.7 Million. That is a $650,000 cut. Darabont saw this cut as having a conflicting approach to a creative team flowing with talent. In Darbont’s words. “If you have an asset, why would you punish it? Common Sense would say that he is right The Walking Dead is AMC’s highest rated show and Darabont is a big component of that. Then why the parting of ways?

This is not the first time AMC has had disputes with successful shows. Since it made the switch from airing old movies to original content it has happened with each of it’s top 3 shows. Walking Dead along with Breaking Bad and Mad Men were all put through potential budget cuts as well but the main difference is that those two shows are owned by outside studios. This gave those shows more leverage in discussions to work out any issues.  In the case of Sony Television Breaking Bad who was being told that their 4th season would be cut from 13 episodes to 6 or 8 simply decided to pitch their show to other networks such as FX.  AMC took the bait unwilling to risk the loss of the highly popular show.

The Walking Dead did not have this kind of leverage because AMC never gave up the rights to any outside studio and thus still own it and control it. For better or worse that’s just how it’s gonna be. I can’t predict how this will turn out in the end but from what I saw in the first episode of season 2 and maybe I am still a little mad about the 30 minutes of commercial I had to sit through, in what was supposed to be a 90 minute season premiere. I was less than enthusiastic, the episode was somewhat boring. Usually you want to start the 2nd season of a television series with a bang. They failed to do so.

With Darabont now a outsider looking in, I am interested to see if this ends up as just another flop.

Take a sneak peek of the 2nd season with this teaser trailer.

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