TV: Anchor Bay Snags ‘The Walking Dead’, Odd Season 2 News

We’ve got two fresh pieces of news regarding AMC’s widely successful The Walking Dead. First, Anchor Bay Entertainment announced today that they will distribute the hit series on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S. and Canada. “The Walking Dead” premiered on AMC on Sunday, October 31st – Halloween night and its debut reigns as the biggest series debut in cable’s history among Adults 18-49 with 4.2 million. The series is based on the comic book written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics. Season one consists of six, one-hour episodes. As for the second season, Deadline reports of some interesting writer news. Executive producer/ director Frank Darabont has let go of the writers on the hot freshman AMC series… details inside.
Deadline writes:

I hear The Walking Dead writer/ executive producer/ director Frank Darabont has let go of the writers on the hot freshman AMC series, which has already renewed for a second season.

That includes Darabont’s No.2, writing executive producer Charles “Chic” Eglee.

Writer turnover on series between seasons is commonplace but wholesale overhauls are unusual. What’s more, I hear Darabont is looking to forgo having a writing staff for the second season of Walking Dead altogether and assign scripts to freelancers.

Darabont, who hails from the feature world with The Young Indiana Jones as the only series credit before Walking Dead, ended up writing 2 of the first season’s 6 episodes of Walking Dead – the pilot and the second episode – and co-writing/rewriting the other 4. Two of those 4 were written by non-staff writers, one by executive producer Robert Kirkman, on whose comics the series is based, and one by Glen Mazzara.

The freelance model is employed by the Starz/BBC series Tourchwood, which in turn borrowed it from the U.K. where the show originated. Having BBC as producer has allowed Torchwood to proceed with no writing staff but I hear such a plan on an U.S.-based series such as Walking Dead may face issues with the Writers Guild. And, while the first season of Walking Dead was only 6 episodes, its second-season order is for 13, which may prove harder to manage in pre-production, production and post-production with no writing staff.

Sources tell me that no final decision has been made yet with all options open, including using some combination of a writing staff/freelances. There is time – AMC is mulling launching Walking Dead’s second season the way it did the first one – in October during Fearfest.