I’m something of a fair-weather fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead. I often am bored shitless while watching, but when it decides to get intense, there isn’t much else on TV like it. A lot of the heavier drama admittedly comes with super-violent action scenes, or characters meeting their surprise demises, tactics that many other series just can’t compete with. So it’s something of a shock that the syndication channel MyNetworkTV has acquired exclusive rights for the horror series to air as a non-cable-ready broadcast. Does that mean we can expand forward to a time when Lifetime starts airing boob-less episodes of HBO’s Girls? Also, why was that the only comparison that I immediately thought of?
Back before AMC picked it up, The Walking Dead had a shot at making it to network TV, but NBC wasn’t on board with the whole “making a TV show that has a built-in fan-base and would gain major ratings” sort of thing. It’s hard to imagine what the show would have looked like on NBC, but it’s an even bigger mindfuck to think of how butchered the show is going to be to match MyNet’s ratings standard. It’ll be rated TV-14, which is how The Walking Dead actually spent its first two seasons, until the Parents Television Council stepped in and said all that gore and emotional turmoil was too much for 14- to 16-year-olds.
It’s likely that some episodes will be edited less than others, but how do they even approach episodes such as last Sunday’s shocker? Also, how can something that isn’t cable possibly contain all the badassery that is Daryl Dixon? Oh, the challenges MyNet will face.
But even though the content edits may be controversial, there’s no denying how big a ratings boost this could give the network. The Walking Dead has been a huge success for AMC, both in total viewers and for the core audience demographic. Considering MyNet reaches 97 percent of American televisions, without the need for cable, that means even more people can get into it. And some of those viewers might be those that didn’t watch the original run due to issues with violence or seeing guts hanging out of people’s bodies all willy nilly.
MyNet will start airing the episodes this fall, at a rate of two episodes a week. We’re assuming they’ll be showing episodes from all four seasons, as the fifth will be starting not too long after the reruns begin.
Interested in seeing what next week’s episode “Us” has in store for you? Check out the video below.