Rumor has it AMC is tinkering around with the idea of a post-Walking Dead talk show. But before you start eye rolling yourself in to a seizure inducing stupor, hear us out. This show could be the start of something brilliant, if they follow these simple guidelines.
Vulture is reporting that the higher ups over at AMC see an angle to make a quick buck with a cheap and easy talk show rolling in off the viewership from their very successful Walking Dead series. Using Bravo TV's thriving reality TV talk show Watch What Happens: Live as a guide, sources are saying that a pilot has already been filmed with Nerdist blogger Chris Hardwick (whom you may remember doling out dry insults to a sea of hormones, over on MTV's 90s dating series Singled Out).
AMC has even gone as far as to hire out Bravo's WWH executive producer, who helped the Andy Cohen-hosted late night call-in talky rake in 1.5 million viewers (beating The Daily Show). This could be the start of something glorious for genre lovers. But we beg AMC, follow these simple rules, and you've got some dynamite programming on your hands.
It Must Be Live
People don't want to watch a host softball a bunch of pre-approved questions to actors, that's what DVD extras and Leno are for. This show must be live. Part of the appeal of Bravo's WWH are the crazy folks who call in, and call out various guests and speak their minds about their favorite moments. Plus there's a very large segment of the talk show dedicated to answering questions from Twitter. Which not only give the show a sense of audience participation, but sometimes steers the conversation. It can only generate buzz for AMC and compel more people to tune in. We know that they've already filmed a pilot, but that could be just the intro, who knows?
Answer The Tough Questions
We don't want to hear the same story about how the actor who plays Glenn passed out the first week of shooting in Atlanta, over and over again. A little color is great, but we cannot and will not listen to half an hour of fluff. Address the big stuff, the fans will respect you for not ignoring the real story. After all there's only so long you can dance around the great bald elephant in the room that is Frank Darabont's departure. Hell, let him call in to release a statement himself if he's game (doubtful). Tackle the fans head on by answering their twitter queries then move on. They'll love you for it, and tune in next week once they've found something else to be pissed/excited about.
Random "Celebrity" Pairings
I've stayed on to watch Andy Cohen's WWH show just based on the randos Bravo managed to book each night. Here's a list of people who have made it on WWH, Jackee Harry, Denise Richards, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristen Johnston, and Jerry O'connell. It's a veritable whose who of what the hell. AMC needs to find the rando nerd equivalent of these folks. Here are our suggestions: Brent Spiner, Rob Zombie, The Trio from Buffy, Rider Strong, Eli Roth, Fred Savage, Matt Smith (Hardwick knows him, it could happen), Craig Ferguson, Felicia Day, Danny Pudi, and Seth Green. You can't tell us you wouldn't watch Craig Ferguson talk about zombie slaying and then needle Jon Bernthal for being such a dick as Shane in Walking Dead. They would write songs about that moment.
Use What You've Got
AMC already has a collection of beloved cult creators and actors such Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito, Mad Men's Vincent Kartheiser, and Robert Kirkman at the ready. Use them! Hell, hide a mandatory clause in Jon Hamm's contract that he has to show up on the AMC talk show at least once, but we bet he'd do it anyways because he's game for a little fun. We'd even go as far to say the season finale for Walking Dead should have a very special talk show and invite the showrunners (Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan, Mad Men's Matthew Weiner and, urm, Walking Dead's Glen Mazzara) to sit down and have a real discussion about making good TV.
Bravo TV employs a generous three-drink-minimum policy. Sober people are no fun to watch on TV. Keep the drinks flowing. Loose lips sink zombie ships, and make for better watching.
If this works for Walking Dead, we read that AMC is looking to extend this post show wrap up after all of their beloved dramas. Sounds good to us, but only if they make it live.