AMC orders ‘Walking Dead’ to series

Frank Darabont directed drama to bow in October

AMC has given a series greenlight to “The Walking Dead,” the Frank Darabont-helmed adaptation of the Image Comics series by Robert Kirkman.

AMC prexy and g.m. Charlie Collier noted that “Dead” marks AMC’s first foray into full ownership of one of its series.

AMC has ordered six episodes of the series that revolves around a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Darabont penned and directed the pilot and will exec produce with Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd of Valhalla Motion Pictures and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion, which will be funded entirely inhouse by AMC parent Rainbow Media. Charles Eglee, a seasoned TV drama showrunner, has also boarded the project as an exec producer.

“With Frank and Gale and their entire team invested in this project, we also wanted to be fully invested in this project,” Collier said.

Dead” is set to begin production in June in Atlanta. It’s targeted for an October bow, dovetailing with Halloween and AMC’s annual “Fearfest” two-week marathon of horror and thriller pics.

The series revolves around police officer Rick Grimes, who leads a group of human survivors on a search for a safe home in a world overrun by zombies. Jon Bernthal (“The Pacific”) has been cast in the role of Shane, who is Grimes’ partner.

AMC greenlighted production of a “Walking Dead” pilot back in January but ultimately decided to go straight to series after hearing Darabont’s vision for a six-episode arc, and because of the desire to tie in with “Fearfest.”

“He’s taken the baseline road map of the underlying material and just blew it out to the next level,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s senior veep of programming, production and digital content. “There’s stuff in there that will make the people who love the comics very happy and some surprises in there as well.”

Stillerman added that the property is likely to have “huge international value.”

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