AMC has confirmed that it is in "active development" of a new Walking Dead spinoff series, which will be the third show in the franchise, alongside the main The Walking Dead series and Fear The Walking Dead.
The announcement was made during AMC Networks' quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts. Here's what AMC COO Ed Carroll revealed:
"We're not at a stage where we'll be announcing its plans to premiere," Carroll said. "But we have hired creative people that have pitched story outlines. We feel very good about the development of that series. We're not in a position to talk about partnerships in terms of other territories or ancillary windows, other than that there's a healthy appetite for it and we've had a number of conversations with a lot of players in the space."
It's not all that surprising to hear AMC trying to open up a new avenue for The Walking Dead to continue; the main series has seen its two main characters Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl (Chandler Riggs) Grimes both leave the series; Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has stepped away for the foreseeable future; Jesus (Tom Payne) just opted to be killed off; Michonne (Danai Gureria) will also be stepping away in season 10; with rumors of other cast members also looking toward the exit. Despite all that, the show is currently enjoying its most critically-acclaimed season (according Rotten Tomatoes), and still has a loyal fanbase that makes it a major cable TV contender.
There's also more exciting "event" content on the horizon, including Andrew Lincoln's return in AMC's planned Walking Dead movies, and the main series once again having a major crossover with Fear The Walking Dead. So while the main show seems to indeed be losing steam, it's just as arguable the franchise, overall, is just starting to branch out.
Carroll addressed the question of how The Walking Dead franchise is aging, stating:
"We are well aware that when a show has been around for nine years, you would expect viewership to be declining, but I think we've managed that and managed that well," Carroll said. "When The Walking Dead is no longer part of the channel, I think that will have more of an impact on revenue than on [income] because generally expenses go up as the seasons continue and viewership declines. That's just a general pattern with any show that's been around as long as The Walking Dead has."
The Walking Dead has since been renewed for a tenth season. New Season 9 episodes premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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