Ratings? AMC don’t need no stinking ratings! With a new spin-off of The Walking Dead far enough along to offer up a teaser trailer and an upcoming movie deal featuring the zombie show’s now-departed key star, AMC has plenty of irons in the fire for the future of its undead franchise — so the fact that its flagship series’ ratings keep dropping isn’t a priority. That became clear on an earnings call for the company during which its higher-ups were bright and sunny on what’s to come.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, CEO Josh Sapan was still optimistic about the zombie franchise, even in the wake of record low ratings for the OG series and the end of the comic source material. Part of this stems from the movie deal struck with Universal, where many fans believed that the Andrew Lincoln-led movies would simply air on AMC. In fact, Sapan said, multiple studios were vying for the honor of theatrically distributing the films.
“There was interest fairly widely among studios to do [the movie],” Sapan said, according to The Wrap. “[Universal’s interest] was not unique, singular, and therefore it is a representation and affirmation of strength of franchise.” The news that the movie would hit theaters at all was announced during the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel, which dropped a brief teaser.
What does this mean for fans? Well, that The Walking Dead is nowhere near death. Soon the franchise will have three TV shows alongside its video games, comics, and upcoming films — so it’s no wonder that Sapan called the property (which has been around since 2003) “in the early stages of life” with “many opportunities for growth.” With HBO similarly clinging to Game of Thrones, big genre properties are just as important to the world of television as they are to the continued dominance of Disney at the box office. However, as AMC continues putting all its eggs into one undead basket, those declining ratings still ought to make the company at least a little Concerned About The Walking Dead if not Fear The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead returns to TV on Oct. 6 while Rick Grimes hits the big screen sometime in the future.