Wednesday’s news that Walking Dead has upgraded a trio of actors to series regular ahead of Season 4 did not go over well with Melissa McBride fans.
Supporters of the actress — who has played Carol since Season 1 — took to TVLine’s comments section to demand that AMC finally do the right thing and make her a regular as well.
There’s just one problem: McBride is, and has been, a regular — a fact she confirmed herself on Twitter Wednesday. Responding to the “awesome outpouring” of support following news of Chad L. Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green and Emily Kinney’s promotions, McBride maintained, “I currently am a series regular.” She then chalked up questions about her status to, “legalese.”
The legalese she no doubt refers to also happens to be the source of much of the confusion. Unlike the majority of Walking Dead‘s regulars, McBride’s name is not included in the main title sequence alongside co-stars like Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. Instead, she’s listed in the secondary credits (aka “Also Starring”) following the first commercial break — a section reserved on most shows for guest stars.
According to sources, the fine print of Walking Dead contracts gives producers (and AMC) the right to include series regulars in either section. To wit, Scott Wilson (Hershel) — who receives the same post-opening credits billing as McBride — is also a series regular.
What’s not clear is how these decisions are made. For example, why was Danai Gurira — who joined the show as Michonne in Season 3 — given main title billing immediately, while an original castmember like McBride has yet to receive that honor?
One person who (surprisingly) doesn’t have the answer is series creator Robert Kirkman. “There are a lot of executive producers on the show and that’s not my forte,” he tells TVLine. “I don’t even know what the series regular term actually really means when it gets down to it, I’m sorry to admit.”
It pays to ride with Rick Grimes.
Indeed, Chad L. Coleman and Sonequa Martin-Green, who recurred on Season 3 of The Walking Dead as Tyreese and Sasha, have been upgraded to series regulars for the fourth season of AMC’s zombie-apocalypse smash, TVLine has learned.
Additionally, Emily Kinney — who joined the show in Season 2 as Hershel’s youngest daughter Beth — has also been elevated to a regular.
Coleman and Martin-Green’s promotions come after Sunday’s Season 3 finale saw their brother-sister duo refuse to help The Governor carry out an attack on Rick’s people, and later help transport Woodbury’s children and elderly to the safety of Rick’s prison encampment.
Martin-Green is also currently recurring on ABC’s Once Upon a Time as Tamara, who’s just began to stir things up in Storybrooke as the secretly magic-seeking fiancee of Emma’s ex/Henry’s father Neal; the buzz at the time of her casting was that the character would possibly span into Season 3. Her previous credits include The Good Wife and Army Wives.
Coleman is best known for his role on The Wire, as well as I Hate My Teenage Daughter and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.