‘Zombie Protein’ Infects America in ‘The Bite’

Audra McDonald in The Bite
Audra McDonald in Spectrum Original 'The Bite' (Image credit: Spectrum Originals)

Robert and Michelle King series The Bite premieres for Spectrum video subscribers May 21. The show follows neighbors Rachel (Audra McDonald) and Lily (Taylor Schilling) after a deadly strain of a virus turns up. Rachel and Lily both start working from home in New York, trying to keep their lives together as things start to go crazy. 

Robert described the strain of virus as a “zombie protein” that attaches itself to COVID. Those who catch the virus may undergo some changes. “You will not be disappointed if you tune in looking for zombies,” teased Michelle.  

A mix of drama and comedy with lots of satire as well, The Bite touches on the political issues surrounding COVID, masks and vaccinations. “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the pandemic has been politicized,” said Robert, mentioning the idea of “civilization being lost because it can’t get its shit together.”

The show’s title is a nod to the undead. “Jaws and teeth are the most important part of any zombie show,” explained Robert. 

The Kings penned the project last summer. With Broadway on hold amidst the pandemic, the creators said they reached out to stage friends to get on board with The Bite

With infection rates decreasing today, they’re hoping people can find a bit of humor in the horror we’ve all been through. “We’d love for everybody in the pandemic to have a laugh or two,” said Robert. 

Spectrum and CBS Studios produce the series. The Kings’ hits include The Good Wife and The Good Fight. CBS and Paramount Plus are their usual partners, but neither got on board with The Bite. “Spectrum seemed to be willing to pull the trigger,” said Robert.  

All six episodes are available, commercial free, for Spectrum subscribers on premiere day. 

Scenes were shot on sets in New York and in cast members’ homes. Characters played by McDonald and Steven Pasquale are both involved in extramarital affairs, and the actors’ real-life spouses portray their fling partners. 

Michelle mentioned a “wait-and-see attitude” in terms of subsequent seasons. “We created the show so there is the possibility of multiple seasons,” she said, while also giving the first season a satisfying conclusion. 

The Bite is a big, bold swing for the Kings. “We didn’t really know how well the show would pan out,” Michelle said. “We’re both really proud of it. It came out better than I could’ve dreamed.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.