It appears that, for better or for worse, The Walking Dead universe will continue to expand. In AMC Network’s quarterly earnings call with shareholders and analysts, COO Ed Carroll confirmed that a new spinoff of the long-running zombie series is in “active development.” Deadline was the first to report this story. This announcement comes on the heels of the revelation that three feature films based on TWD have been given the green light (starring the Rick Grimes character), and as the original small-screen spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead is only months away from unleashing its fifth full season.
While both viewership and general interest in The Walking Dead continues to wane a bit into season nine, it’s important to note that the wildly successful series continues to be the number one show on cable and number two drama on all of television (trailing only NBC’s This is Us.) Even though the ratings have kept TWD at the top, the show has suffered multiple departures of major characters in the past two seasons, with stars Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs and Lauren Cohan leaving in the midst of big angles in the overall story-line. It was recently announced that one of the few remaining long-time characters, Danai Gurira’s Michonne, would see her screen time drastically reduced before being written off altogether during season ten. On the other hand, Fear the Walking Dead continues to receive generally positive reviews well into the fourth season. That show had its own drastic decline in ratings during the second half of season four, however, after also killing off one of its lead characters (Kim Dickens’ Madison Clark.)
Despite this unstable horizon for the franchise, AMC is very optimistic that the new proposed spinoff can prove to be very successful. “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. “That’s just a general pattern with any show that’s been around as long as The Walking Dead has.”
What makes this announcement even more interesting is the current working relationship that AMC has with the major media streaming services. Hulu, in particular, offers AMC original programming on its platform. Will the new TWD spinoff be offered exclusively on a platform like Hulu? While this would certainly be a ground-breaking arrangement, unfortunately no other details about the new show have been unveiled so we will all have to continue to wonder.
AMC’s fourth-quarter earnings beat Wall Street estimates, so it appears that things are looking up for the network. Hopefully a new TWD series will continue that positive trend.
Stay tuned to HNN for more news on the new TWD spin-off as it breaks!