Days after airing its most talked-about episode of the current season, AMC announced it has given a seventh season to its hit zombie apocalypse series “The Walking Dead” and a sixth season to postmortem chat series “Talking Dead.”
“The Walking Dead,” which is based on Robert Kirkman’s Image Comics series and is showrun by Scott Gimple, continues to be a ratings behemoth for the cabler. After factoring in three days of time-shifted viewing, Sunday’s episode — which saw the end of at least one pivotal character — delivered 18.2 million viewers, with 12 million adults 18-49 and 11.5 million adults 25-54 in live+3 ratings. It was up across the board vs. the third episode of last season, according to Nielsen.
Sunday’s episode also served as a strong lead-in to the drama’s corresponding “Talking Dead” series, which is hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick. That episode became the chat show’s highest-rated episode ever that was not a premiere or a finale. It delivered 7.3 million viewers, with 4.6 million adults 18-49 and 4.7 million adults 25-54 in live+3.
“Thank goodness someone had a Magic 8-Ball with them in our many long internal meetings about these renewals. When, on the third shake, ‘without a doubt’ filled the murky blue screen, we knew we had to proceed with new seasons of ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Talking Dead,’” said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. “All joking aside, we are so proud to share these shows with fans who have been so passionate, communicative and engaged. We are grateful for and continually impressed by the talent, effort and excellence on continuous display by Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Chris Hardwick and the many people with whom we partner to make these unique shows possible. The result: More Walking and Talking. Hooray.”
“The Walking Dead” has come to define AMC beyond prestige dramas “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” and is also credited for ushering in the current wave of comic book-centric programming throughout the TV landscape. The cabler is continuing the trend with the upcoming “Preacher” series from Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and “Breaking Bad” alum Sam Catlin.
The zombie juggernaut also recently spawned its own hit spinoff, “Fear the Walking Dead,” which set a cable record for the highest rated first season ever. Its 15-episode second season will air next year.