“The Walking Dead” has reshaped Gale Anne Hurd’s life in ways she never could have expected.
A handful of telefilms and short-lived series did not prepare the producer, known best for work on sci-fi movies such as “Terminator” and “Aliens,” for the ongoing demands of AMC’s zombie hit.
“I compare a TV series to a marathon, and a feature film — even a big one — to a sprint,” says Hurd, executive producer on what has to be the most successful zombie apocalypse series for television ever. “A movie could take 12 years to get going. TV is quick. Given that I’m probably a little ADD, it’s very helpful.”
“Walking Dead,” which returns to AMC for its third season this month, ended last season with 9 million viewers, its highest ratings yet.
“You’re constantly in all phases of the process — working on stories for upcoming episodes, in pre-production, then production and post,” Hurd says. “As a producer in television, you have to be a jack of all trades — you’re constantly getting scripts in, director’s cuts in, script revisions, location scouts, you name it. There’s a lot more here than you have on a feature.”
The demands haven’t scared Hurd away from more TV work: Her shingle Valhalla Entertainment signed a deal with Universal to develop TV and digital series earlier this year. She has another sci-fi TV project, an adaptation of Annie Jacobsen’s “Area 51: The History of America’s Top Secret Military Base,” in the works for AMC.
Working in film and TV occasionally require some serious juggling, but Hurd says she doesn’t discriminate about media. “If you become passionate about a property, it’s about what becomes the best vehicle for it,” she says. “Sometimes, a Web series makes sense. The fantastic thing now is we have so much choice.”