Are you ready for the least surprising news of the day? AMC has renewed the massively popular zombie drama The Walking Dead for a sixth season. Shocking, right, that the network would re-up on the biggest show on television. I’m only surprised that they didn’t order more seasons, or more episodes, though they did recently give the much discussed spinoff a pilot order, also not much of a surprise.
To be honest, the biggest surprise in this whole situation, for me anyway, is just how ridiculously popular The Walking Dead actually is. As the series approaches season 5, which debuts this coming Sunday, October 12, AMC has what is the number one scripted series in the 18-49 demographic, which translates into advertising gold. In addition to that, this is also the highest rated show in cable history, which is one hell of a feat, averaging 18.4 million total viewers.
The Walking Dead is uneven from a narrative standpoint to be sure, but there is no way I would ever have guessed that a show this bloody and gory would be this beloved by so many people. It’s not even the violence, there have been plenty of other violent shows that are hugely popular, but we’re talking about a show that, damn near every week, shows rotting corpses chowing down on people in incredibly graphic fashion. Buy you can buy just about anything with a Walking Dead logo emblazoned on it, from T-shirts to action figures to trading cards. Hell, there’s even a Walking Dead slot machine, not to mention that zombies have become shills for everything from cars to fruit flavored candy. Who saw that coming?
AMC president Charlie Collier says:
We could not be more excited for Oct. 12 as we share new episodes of The Walking Dead with fans around the globe. In advance of Sunday’s season five premiere, AMC proudly confirms a sixth season order of this extraordinary series. Thank you to Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, the terrific executive producers, and the entire team who bring this compelling world and these rich characters to life. There’s plenty more Dead ahead thanks to their impressive, collective effort.
There’s no word on how many episodes season 6 will include, if it will be the standard 16 they’ve had over the last couple of years, or if they’ll vary from that formula. They’re big on splitting the season up into two distinct sections of eight episodes each, a move that worked especially well last season.
The final eight episodes of season 4 are the best the series have ever been, using a totally different storytelling approach than they’ve ever employed before, resulting in the strongest arc in the show’s entire run. Ending on a grim cliffhanger, anticipation for a new season of The Walking Dead has never been higher. Standard procedure has been to include a gap of time between the events of two seasons, but given the nature of the last episode, we’ve been told repeatedly to expect to “hit the ground running” come Sunday.