The Walking Dead Planned Through Season 12

AMC’s The Walking Dead heads into its fifth season as the top-rated non-sports program on the [...]

AMC's The Walking Dead heads into its fifth season as the top-rated non-sports program on the air for the second year running, with 28 million weekly viewers. As the show has been ripping through the comic book source material at a clip of roughly 15 issues per year, though, some fans have wondered how long the show can stay on the air and not start to lose a step.

For the sake of argument, we'll leave whether the comics have lost a step off the table, because as far as sales are concerned, they clearly haven't. The series is selling as well as ever and in the wake of the just-concluded "All-Out War" storyline, a new life has been injected into the book. While there's plenty of readers who don't enjoy it as much as they did five or so years ago, that's not really germane to the TV series, which is first a loose adaptation and second, mostly concerned with what they can wring from the source material to make a good TV show.

According to at least one producer, the series hasn't even reached the halfway point yet.

Indiewire (via CBR) reports that at the Producers Guild of America's Produced By Conference on Sunday, The Walking Dead Executive Producer David Alpert was asked about adapting existing material, and revealed that as a result of the comic having existed for so long before the series, they've got more than ten years of TV planned out.

"I happen to love working from source material, specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what Season 10 is gonna be," Alpert said. "We know where season 11 and 12 … we have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we're lucky enough to get there."

There are very few cable dramas that have managed that kind of run, and ten years is a bit of a landmark even for network shows. Series like Friends and JAG ended their runs after ten seasons, as did genre giants like Smallville and Stargate SG-1.

The Walking Dead returns in October for its fifth season.