AMC’s expansion plan for The Walking Dead includes indefinite seasons of the main show, new movies with big-name cast members like Andrew Lincoln and continued crossovers between the main show and its spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead. But now we’re starting to hear more about how Fear will not be the only spin-off for long, something that has felt obvious for a while, but now AMC is starting to talk more about it openly.
In a Q4 call (via The Wrap), Ed Carroll, AMC’s chief operating officer, had this to say about a third series in the works:
"That is in active development. We’re not yet at a stage where we’ll be announcing its plans to premiere. But we have hired creative people that have pitched story outlines. We feel very good about the development of that series."
A third Walking Dead series, joining the other two which currently run 16 weeks a year, means that if rotated correctly, AMC could go 48 weeks out of 52 per year with some sort of Walking Dead show airing on Sunday nights. I have previously argued that with dropping ratings and a splintering cast, that tripling down on The Walking Dead seems like an odd move. But AMC’s position is that The Walking Dead is still very strong, despite declines, beating all other cable shows on Sundays and holding its own with the networks as well (though it did used to beat them handily). And then there’s the additional fact that Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead are AMC’s two highest rated programs by a fairly substantial margin. Despite having a lot of prestige programming, none of it puts up the numbers of these series. So why not keep going?