The Walking Dead will have its finale tonight and the network is still dominating the ratings and continuing to add to its original series stable. In fact, the channel has had its share of very public misfires, including the departure of Frank Darabont from pop culture giant “The Walking Dead,” but like most networks on TV, AMC seems ready to put the past behind them as this season “Dead” has risen to new levels ahead of tonight’s second season finale.
Launched during Halloween 2010, the show pulled in record breaking numbers for AMC and became an even bigger “it” show than “Mad Men.” Spread out over a short batch of episodes, it beat the competition when it ended its freshman run leaving fans wanting more.
Fast forward to Comic-Con 2011 when the show appeared in full force and again stole the spotlight. The series released a chilling four minute season two trailer that put it back on everybody’s radar. Led by its showrunner and multi-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont, “Dead” rose to the occasion, but soon saw itself the unwanted target of attention when the next day execs axed Darabont.
The exact story behind Darabont’s departure is still somewhere clouded, but either way it left fans enraged. Already stinging from a prolonged contract negotiation that led to a larger than usual hiatus for “Mad Men” and the disastrous season finale of “The Killing,” AMC was looking at a third strike with audiences.
Across the board you can’t really blame the network for wanting to tighten its belt. In this economy everybody is doing something to save money, but this wasn’t the right call or the right way to execute it. While one assumes the average viewer won’t notice an extra commercial here or one less supporting cast member there, they’ll certainly notice a changing of the guard at the top. It’s also nearly impossible to pull off cleanly in this 24/7 news cycle world we live in.