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AMC Networks Hints at New ‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff

Executives at AMC Networks hinted the company was developing a second “Walking Dead” spinoff that would add to its association with the apocalyptic zombie drama even as some prominent actors have left the flagship series.

The company has “hired creative people that have pitched story outlines. We feel very good about the development of that series,’ said Ed Carroll, AMC Networks’ chief operating officer, during a conference call with investors Thursday. Executives declined to offer specific details about the new show, which would represent a third series under the “Walking Dead” banner, but Carroll suggested “there’s a healthy appetite for it and we’ve had a number of conversations with a lot of players in the space.”

A new “Walking Dead” series has been expected since producer Scott Gimple, a showrunner of the flagship series, was made chief content officer and given duties supervising the creative aspects of all “Walking Dead” programs.

The programming news comes after AMC Networks saw fourth-quarter net income fall to $72 million, or $1.24 per share, compared with $145 million, or $2.33 per share in the year-earlier period. The results include a $43 million restructuring charge and come in comparison to the previous period, when the company enjoyed a benefit from the new federal tax law. Revenue rose 6.3% to $773 million in the fourth quarter, AMC Networks said.

Keeping the same level of viewership for the flagship series, which has been on the air since 2010 is difficult, executives acknowledged. “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 during the call.  Andrew Lincoln, who has been the star of the flagship series since its inception and recently left, is expected to take part in a number of stand-alone special programs that will advance the plotline.

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