Truly honoring the core premise of his network's popular show, AMC CEO Josh Sapan said that The Walking Dead has the potential to stick around just like its persistent, ubiquitous title characters if the property is carefully groomed.
“The Walking Dead is in great shape, and the people who are managing that great shape are motivated and extraordinarily talented and that we have these worlds coming forward that are going to be ever more interesting,” Sapan said on a call about the network’s third quarter earnings, a transcript of which was obtained by SYFY WIRE, and which was first reported by Deadline.
And he wasn’t just whistling Dixie either, going on to say that they did their homework to see what can help lend itself to the longevity of a TV show, and all the possibilities contained therein.
“The use of the word ‘franchise,’ we don’t take lightly. It’s not a sloppy or casual word,” Sapan continued. “We’ve studied the best. Some have been around 30, 40, 50 years. We have a chance for a lot of life in the franchise.”
By "life," he doesn't mean a reanimated corpse, but untapped or underutilized horizons like social media, gaming, virtual reality, and "other new forms of consumption" like merchandising. As the wise Yogurt once taught us, that's where all the real money is made.
In fact, AMC has an entire "franchise management" team looking into The Walking Dead's life in the long term beyond the confines of television. "We've already seen consumption and enthusiasm from what we think is reasonably good creative execution," Sapan said.
With the end of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and Preacher in between seasons, The Walking Dead is the only hit with a major and devoted fan base that AMC has on air at the moment. Shows like Into the Badlands and Halt and Catch Fire never became the far-reaching phenomena of those other properties. Just a few weeks ago, 6,000 people attended the screening of the show's 100th episode at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles while 2-3 million others watched the livestream for two hours straight. That exemplifies real devotion on the part of fans.
Since the departure of Frank Darabont as showrunner, the show has sporadically taken dips and rises in quality, according to fans. Some even say that spinoff Fear The Walking Dead has surpassed its predecessor on that front. But if the leader of the network is confident in the franchise, then it's probably a sign that show will be shambling around the pop-culture post-apocalyptic wasteland and moaning for human flesh for some time to come.