A few days ago, we reported on a Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference where AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan revealed plans to expand The Walking Dead universe throughout the next decade and beyond. It’s not shocking news — even as The Walking Dead has lost viewers over the last few years, it’s still one of the highest-performing shows on television, and was a watershed series for AMC.
Sapan didn’t give any details at the time, but now Bloomberg is reporting that, “The company, which owns the popular zombie-apocalypse series, plans to produce multiple movies and new TV shows based on the graphic novels that spawned the series, according to people familiar with the plans. AMC has talked to several large media companies about partnering on the projects, which collectively could cost several hundred million dollars.”
The report added that “The company would also take the franchise overseas, setting at least one series in another country. The Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows in dozens of countries. Scott Gimple, who produced several seasons of The Walking Dead, is overseeing development of different narrative possibilities. He was named chief content officer for both The Walking Dead and its prequel Fear the Walking Dead in January.”
In addition to its prequel and its talk show Talking Dead, The Walking Dead has also spawned mobile games, live events, and the annual Walker Stalker Con, which draws crowds of 65,000-70,000 in Atlanta, and 35,000 and 30,000 in cities like Chicago and London. And, back to the ratings question, while the series peaked in 2015 with 18 million viewers, its current 11 million is almost unheard of in this Peak TV age where everyone’s attentions are so scattered. So while there is definitely some Walking Dead fatigue among the fanbase, one that hasn’t fully embraced Fear as much as its parent series, overall the property is still going strong.
As Bloomberg points out, though, there are some tough calls that AMC may have to make regarding potential partners for further developing Walking Dead media. While the network would like to own all of the related properties, it needs a cash inflow to get it started:
“Ownership of that content — call it ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ — allows us to determine the fate of that content, so we can navigate as we choose,” Sapan said at the conference. AMC has told potential partners that all rights to “The Walking Dead” are on the table, said the people […] “If we manage it properly it has a long life, which is not to say it will always look like a TV series,” Sapan said.
The Walking Dead Season 9 premieres October 7th; as Collider exclusively reported, it will be the last with star Andrew Lincoln.