It’s no surprise that AMC’s most popular TV series is also its most bloody and gruesome. No, I’m not talking about Breaking Bad, but rather The Walking Dead. Since its premiere episode, The Walking Dead has brought viewers to the cable network in droves. For some perspective, its series premiere episode “Days Gone By” attracted 5.35 million viewers in 2010, while it’s most recent season finale “Welcome to the Tombs” brought in 12.42 million, which is the largest audience for a cable network. So why wouldn’t AMC want to keep The Walking Dead gravy train going with a spin-off?
AMC has announced that they are currently developing a new companion series for The Walking Dead. Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, and David Alpert are all on board as the new series’ executive producers for AMC Studios. While there are no plot details available at this point, AMC says it won’t be based on any existing storyline from the Walking Dead comic book. Series creator Robert Kirkman says:
‘After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of The Walking Dead universe,’ said Kirkman. ‘The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.
The Walking Dead is the #1 TV series on cable with adults 18 to 49, so it’s easy to see why AMC wants more of Kirkman’s bleak zombie apocalypse. A few months ago, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan expressed interest in seeing The Walking Dead last forever. “We hope that zombies live forever and we’ve just begun to find out what the post-apocalyptic world is like,” said Sapan. “So that we’ll be sitting here at the Barclays conference in 2022 discussing the fact that Walking Dead is not over.”
Robert Kirkman’s comic series is still on-going, having reached issue #114, with no signs of slowing down, so the show should have the potential for long-term staying power. The Walking Dead also has a large merchandising presence as well, with credit cards, slot machines, video games, and toys. So you can also see that Robert Kirkman wants to run this sucker into the ground!
With the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul set to follow attorney Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) before he met Walter White (Bryan Cranston), and now with The Walking Dead companion series, is AMC running out of ideas? Breaking Bad is only a few episodes from wrapping up its series run, and the cable network’s most critically acclaimed series, Mad Men, will follow suit in 2014. Is AMC is on the verge of becoming just another cable network?
AMC’s old slogan was “Story Matters Here,” which reflected its original content with Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead. AMC’s new slogan is “Something More,” which is very indicative of this new announcement. We’re going to be getting “more” of the zombie apocalypse instead of a “story” that takes place during the zombie apocalypse that “matters.”
AMC is shooting for a 2015 release date for The Walking Dead companion series, while its fourth season will premiere October 13 on AMC.