You may have heard an old anecdote around The Walking Dead, that initial network notes for the undead drama questioned whether the series needed zombies at all, but it seems AMC’s flagship hit was practically almost iZombie. Producer Gale Ann Hurd reveals that NBC wanted to tweak the premise into a police procedural solving zombie-related cases.

The bit about the network note has been a favorite story of creator Robert Kirkman’s for years, but executive producer Gale Ann Hurd took it a step further at an Edinburgh International TV Festival masterclass. Apparently, NBC wanted to throw out the post-apocalyptic angle altogether, and envisioned something closer to Law & Order: ZVU.

Per Variety:

Before the show was picked up by AMC for domestic and Fox for international, its creator Frank Darabont presented the first version of the script to NBC, with whom he had an overall deal. According to Hurd, their response was, “Do there have to be zombies [in it].” NBC then asked Darabont if the show could be a procedural in which the two main protagonists would “solve a zombie crime of the week,” she said.

It’s hard to ignore the procedural similarity to The CW’s iZombie, which itself sprang from different comic origins. Still, that wasn’t the only tidbit revealed during the class, as it seems Michael Cudlitz was apparently approached for an unspecified role in the series’ beginning. Perhaps Shane? Merle?

In the meantime The Walking Dead proper will premiere Season 7 on October 23.

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