The blockbuster success of AMC's The Walking Dead has not gone unnoticed outside of cable. The CW announced Friday that it had made a speculative buy of Awakening, a zombie survival drama focusing on two young sisters.
The series comes from writers William Laurin and Glenn Davis, who will also also be executive producers. The two have worked on relatively small projects so far, including sci-fi dramas The Listener and 1-800-Missing, both of which found their primary audience in Canada. Other producers announced include Howard T. Owens (Master Chef, The Biggest Loser), Carolyn Bernstein and Todd Cohen. A spec buy is one of the earliest stages of development, so whether a pilot or a series gets ordered is still very much up in the air.
It's not hard to see why Warner Bros. would want an undead series of their very own. In the wake of the public's current fascination with all things shambling and green, several projects have capitalized on the zombie craze. Most relevant is The Walking Dead, which has been a surprise runaway hit on AMC. The series will return late this year with a full-length second season. Zombies continue to bring in the box office dollars, with the fourth Resident Evil movie in 2010 and Zombieland in 2009 both having solid runs. The original Walking Dead comic series, the Left 4 Dead video games, and the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies just further show the broad appeal the genre has enjoyed as of late.
The CW has a history of strong female characters and programming for female audiences, so it's no surprise that they'd jump on the chance to bring a character-focused drama like this to television. Even the horror aspects aren't exactly new territory for the network, with Supernatural and Smallville both dipping into creepy territory from time to time. The bigger question is how a network show will cope with one of the foundations of zombie movies (and, now, TV shows): ultra-violence. George Romero-style headshots, decapitations and human buffets wouldn't sit well with the FCC's ratings board. Even in the wake of The Walking Dead, which has been so character-focused that the dead barely walk onto some episodes, it's hard to imagine a zombie apocalypse without levels of blood and gore that are off-limits to broadcast networks.
No further casting or crew information is available at the moment. Since the call was made so late in the development cycle, it's unlikely that Awakening would show up on The CW's schedule earlier than spring 2012.
We'll be keeping an eye out for an Awakening pilot order.
Source: Deadline Hollywood