Now in its fifth season, AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead continues to break ratings records. The season premiere just two short weeks ago was the series’ highest-rated episode yet, and it doesn’t seem like the show has plans of slowing down anytime soon. So it was definitely a no-brainer (pardon the pun) when the cable network went ahead and greenlit a spinoff to begin production later this year.
The spinoff from executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert will take place in a new location with a brand new cast. Its been announced that Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy) will serve as showrunner, and he and Kirkman have already written the pilot script. Reportedly, the new series will focus on six characters (including two families) as they navigate the zombie apocalypse.
And now we know who will be leading the charge and directing the first episode of the spinoff series. According to Deadline, AMC has tapped veteran director Adam Davidson, who has helmed episodes of Hell On Wheels, Kingdom, Community, Fringe, and Parenthood, to develop the look and feel of the new series.
While Davidson’s career has spanned the comedy and drama genres equally, it’s his work on grittier series like AMC’s Turn, Hell on Wheels and Low Winter Sun as well as HBO’s Deadwood and Treme that are of particular interest now. Since his Oscar win in 1991 for best short film, live action for The Lunch Date, the director has worked on a large number of TV’s most critically acclaimed series, learning the ropes of what it takes to direct a character drama.
So being able to establish a spinoff for TV’s most-watched drama on basic cable is no doubt a dream gig, but it probably also comes with a lot of pressure. At this point, The Walking Dead has been on for four years, and fans have come to expect certain things from the series. The spinoff will have to respect what came before while at the same forging a new path visually, which can be a difficult tightrope to walk.
Even more important is the fact AMC is most likely counting on this and its other spinoff Better Call Saul to succeed, especially now that Mad Men is ending and new dramas Turn and Halt and Catch Fire underperformed.
There is no premiere date yet for The Walking Dead spinoff, but we’ll keep you updated on the latest as it comes in.