With all the gore, death and language, you wouldn’t think AMC’s The Walking Dead could really survive on network TV. But, believe it or not, it’s about to happen.
MyNetworkTV, a Fox-owned syndication channel that sprang up after UPN and The WB merged to created The CW, has picked up the exclusive broadcast rights to re-air the zombie survival series. The reruns are set to begin this fall, and the network plans to run two episodes per week, edited for broadcast standards. That means some of that gore and insanity has to go.
By broadcast standards, they’re aiming for a TV-14 rating — which was technically the rating Walking Dead had when it debuted on AMC. But after folks got a taste for all the gore and destruction, the rating was upped to the more hardcore TV-MA last year. Despite the comparable early content ratings the show drew on cable, MyNetworkTV will almost certainly have to make some edits to get this show down to acceptable broadcast levels.
Yes, we realize there are a lot of grisly shows that air on network TV these days, but Walking Dead is just another level. That’s actually the reason it wound up at AMC, because NBC and a few other networks passed on the series because they wanted to make wholesale changes to dilute the gore and brutality that make the comic so compelling. Oh, the irony.
As for MyNetworkTV, they seem totally psyched to be picking up the hit series for syndication. It’s a ratings juggernaut for AMC, and you’d have to think at least some of that buzz might trickle down. Frank Cicha, with the Fox Television Stations, called the series a “tremendous get” for the network. We'd have to agree.
Do you think the series can work on network TV? Would you watch edited reruns?