There will be only 10 weeks without Walking Dead programming in 2020, marking what AMC chief operating officer Ed Carroll notes is an unprecedented level of consistency. 2020 will air the back half of The Walking Dead Season 10 and the first half of its already announced eleventh season, as well as the sixth season of spinoff Fear the Walking Dead and the first ten-episode season of AMC's third and still-untitled Walking Dead series, set to premiere on the network in Spring 2020. Also in the works from TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple are a trilogy of theatrically-released films starring Andrew Lincoln Rick Grimes and multiple miniseries, specials and other shorter length series building out AMC's TWD Universe.
In an AMC conference call Thursday, Carroll said TWD3 enables AMC to deliver some "40 Sundays of original zombie world premieres" in 2020 (via Variety). "That's a consistency that's not happened before," Carroll said. 16 episodes of the mothership series, 16 episodes of Fear and 10 episodes of TWD3 leaves just 10 weeks without TWD programming next year.
During the call, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan laid out plans to shift focus to growing the company's subscription streaming services — Acorn TV, Sundance Now, Urban Movie Channel and Shudder — described by Sapan as "targeted, hyper-focus SVOD [subscription video on demand] services" capable of complementing the bigger and broader streaming services owned by Netflix, Disney, Apple, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia.
According to Variety, Sapan said AMC is re-thinking its approach to selling rerun rights to outside SVOD platforms. Currently, the first nine seasons of The Walking Dead are available on Netflix while the first four seasons of Fear are available on Hulu. Moving forward, each TWD series will be "evaluated on a case-by-case basis to generate the highest return," Variety reports.
The international streaming rights for TWD3 have already been sold to Amazon except for markets where AMC owns international channels. The domestic streaming rights will be held by AMC.
Though not mentioned by Sapan, it's possible some of the projects now being developed by Gimple make their way to AMC-owned streaming services. Future TWD projects could conceivably reach Shudder or AMC Premiere, its on-demand and ad-free service granting access to new episodes of The Walking Dead 48 hours before their cable premiere.
Gimple appeared to hint at such a possibility when The Hollywood Reporter asked why television is building out multi-show franchises in the vein of typically big screen franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars.
"I think, even as a consumer, I'll just say because we want that stuff. We're consuming things very differently. Everybody essentially has their own video store now," Gimple previously told THR's "TV's Top 5" podcast. "You've got the Marvel video store, and the Star Wars video store, and all of these places where you can go in and you have an idea of the type of thing you would get — hopefully there's a lot of variety — and it gives people sort of a deep library to go into. And they might not go into it immediately, it's something that they can go into. It's something that they essentially own now, through the streaming services. It's nice to have all those books on the shelf, all those videos on the shelf, and be able to pull them down when you want."
That approach to the ever-changing media landscape is "sort of what we're building."
"Of course we would love people to watch things on Sunday night, that would be the best, but it's a different world now. We're even gonna be building things that aren't even designed for you guys to watch on Sunday night," Gimple said. "We just want to give you a stack of entertainment to have for the rest of your life, and to dip into, to dip out to, that's how I look at it."
Gimple previously promised 2020 would be "a really big year for the universe and the shows."0comments
"I guess it's the beginning of our next decade, so we're trying to kick it off in style," he said at WonderCon earlier in 2019. "But it looks like 2020 is an exciting year."