‘Walking Dead’ capitalizes on World Zombie Day
By Lisa De Moraes,
The morning after the vice-presidential debate, a throng of rotten-fleshed brain-eaters will descend upon Washington.
No, they’re not the undead of cable news punditry.
They are the zombies of AMC.
As a sort of run-up to World Zombie Day — yes, there is a World Zombie Day, and has been since 2006 (try to keep up) — die-hard zombies (get it?) will gather to not-voice their concern about the plight of 14 million families across the country facing a zombie-less Halloween.
The AMC cable network will launch the third season of its popular zombie-dram, “The Walking Dead,” on Sunday without being able to reach Dish Network’s 14 million satellite subscribers. Dish dropped all of the AMC networks in June, saying that it’s not worth being forced to also carry IFC, WE tv, Sundance Channel and IFC Films to access a handful of popular series on its AMC network.
AMC says that Dish actually dropped its subscribers’ fave show — that would be “The Walking Dead” — because of an unrelated lawsuit between the two companies that has gone to trial in New York.
The civic-minded zombies will stage their protest around lunchtime at photogenic locations in the District, including Lafayette Square — ground zero of protests, according to one AMC rep — and the Washington Monument, because apparently vampires have already planted their flag in Lincoln.
AMC execs also have been working like little beavers to co-opt Saturday’s World Zombie Day and turn it into a marketing campaign for “The Walking Dead.”
World Zombie Day is an international annual event that, according to what we think is World Zombie Day’s official Web site — zombies are a fairly disorganized bunch — grew from Pittsburgh’s first Zombie Walk in 2006 at Monroeville Mall, where George Romero filmed “Dawn of the Dead.” More than 50 cities participate in World Zombie Day, including New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Chicago and Tokyo.
Every year, tens of thousands of weekend zombies march, race, pub-crawl and, in some locations, raise money for food banks, which prompts the question: Zombies and food banks?
Anyway, AMC has already sucked organizers of various World Zombie Day events nationwide into its cult of commerce:
“We need ‘The Walking Dead’ back on Dish, and we’re willing to lend a hand, well actually any limb needed, to do it!” Brandon May — an organizer of the Zombie Buffet 5Ks in Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Phoenix and Nashville — said in a statement given to AMC for publicity purposes.
“It is a true Zombie crisis! Zombies fans are frothing at the mouth because many of us cannot see ‘The Walking Dead,’ ” chimed in Jonathan Ackerman, organizer of the Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
“Sesame Street,” the PBS kids educational show that took a beating during the first presidential debate at the hands of winner Mitt Romney, was taking no chances this week.
The afternoon of the veep debate, the show sent out word that — to honor National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Blindness Awareness Month — it would air a special episode Friday called “Brandeis Is Looking for a Job,” about service dogs and people of differing abilities.
Brandeis is a yellow Labrador retriever who is looking for a job on Sesame Street. After making a hash of laundry-folding and floor-sweeping, Brandeis discovers that his true talent lies in being a service dog. He meets a charming young lady named Liliana, who is in a wheelchair; when her book bag slides off her lap, Brandeis quickly fetches it for her. She laughs happily and thanks Brandeis. It’s a match made in heaven.
‘Arrow’ has a bull’s-eye
Looks as though not only NBC is back in the game. So is CW after clocking more than 4 million viewers Wednesday night for the unveiling of its new drama series “Arrow” — which became the most-watched telecast of any CW show on any night in three years.
Last time CW saw this kind of crowd for a new series unveiling, it was for “The Vampire Diaries” back in September 2009.
After the launch of “Arrow” at 8 p.m., CW’s aged paranormal drama, “Supernatural” (at 9), enjoyed its biggest audience in two years — and CW’s best Wednesday night in two years.
“Arrow” tied NBC’s new comedy block, “Animal Practice” and “Guys With Kids,” in the first hour of prime time. Best of all, “Arrow” grew from its first half-hour to its second, which means viewers liked what they saw.
In case you missed it, Arrow — based on the DC Comics character — actually is a billionaire playboy named Oliver Queen. After a violent shipwreck that claimed the life of his billionaire father, Oliver disappeared for five years, only to be found on a remote island in the Pacific. He returns to Starling City to make amends for his spoiled-rich-boy behavior — focusing on the former girlfriend whom he’d cheated on with her younger sister, who, conveniently, died in the shipwreck.
In his spare time, Queen is the hooded vigilante archer Green Arrow, who’s doing so much to restore Starling City to its former glory.
In this new iteration, which got rave reviews at Comic-Con — but then, it’s harder not to get rave reviews at Comic-Con — Arrow is played by Stephen Arnell.
To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/