AMC’s had its share of troubles working towards its second season. First showrunner Frank Darabont (‘The Mist’), who was so influential in getting the critically praised first season off the ground, left the show due to unknown differences. Then there were the financial difficulties that are rumored to have forced the writers to scale back the second season’s more epic scenes. I was beginning to wonder if ‘The Walking Dead’ was not going to make it to season two in one piece. But today, AMC sent out a press release that has allayed some of my fanboy worry.

Greg Nicotero, special FX god and head of FX for the first season of ‘The Walking Dead’ was named co-executive producer for the show’s second season. Nicotero served as consulting producer last season. This is the first decision surrounding the second season that has actually given me some hope. At least now I think that there is someone in charge that cares about the material and might give us some great television.

In addition to being co-executive producer, Nicotero will have a “first-look” deal with AMC so that he might bring some of his own creative ventures to the network. Nicotero is also slated to direct a series of ‘Walking Dead’ webisodes for and at least one episode this season. This is great news. I saw the Nicotero directed ‘The United Monster Talent Agency’ short film (in which Frank Darabont made a cameo) at the 2010 Eerie Horror Film Festival and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know how a semi-humorous short film will translate to an hour-long drama but I’m willing to give Nicotero the chance. I’m just glad that AMC is doing the same.

Of the decision, Nicotero had this to say:

“Working on “The Walking Dead” with such a fantastic cast and crew has been an amazing opportunity, and to have our contribution to the show celebrated is a tremendous compliment.  I have always felt like the show had a cinematic feel and everyone involved is dedicated to making this show something special.  To be able to branch out and to develop not only the web series but also genre material is something I have always wanted to do; given the people I have had the pleasure of working with over the last 23 years.”

So, while I’m still a bit leery on how ‘The Walking Dead’ will turn out for the second season, I am a bit more hopeful that the zombie apocalypse will be as bleak and depressing as it should be.