In an extensive chat with Vulture, AMC network chief Charlie Collier and programming boss Joel Stillerman talked about the recent past, and more importantly the ongoing future of the network. The biggest hit for the channel is The Walking Dead, having set all sorts of network, cable, and TV ratings records.
With next season, already ordered by AMC, The Walking Dead will tie Mad Men as the network's longest-running series ever - does that mean the end is in sight?
"I will tell you we are not actively talking about the end of The Walking Dead," Collier said. "We're talking about how to keep this number 1 show on television feeling as fresh as it does in season six. As a brand, we're very sensitive to making sure that every aspect of it feels fresh and original, and that it’s not treated in any way that’s derivative or taken for granted. Our planning is current and future-focused, and it is not focused on the end at this time."
Stillerman added, "The answer to how long the show will go on in some way is directly correlated with the health of the storytelling in the comics," with Robert Kirkman of course directly involved in the show, and still the sole writer of his long-running series with Image Comics. "Those comics are firing on all cylinders. He still writes every line of dialogue in those books, and is as engaged as he was when I think he was sitting around in Kentucky writing the first issue. That is very much part of the DNA of the show. He sort of felt like, in real life, this goes on for a very long time. We’re along for that ride."
They also talked a bit about Fear the Walking Dead, which they clarified is a "companion series," not a spin-off, as no characters from the core show/group left to be followed on the road.
"It wasn't just, 'let's do more for more's sake.' We waited a few seasons. We wanted to get Robert to feel like he had a world that was very different, as opposed to just an extension of the world we were in," Collier said of the show. he said that they're "optimistic [it will] go on for a long time," which factored into the early second season renewal.