Even with a recent dip in viewer ratings for its flagship show, AMC still has the kind of bona fide hit on its hands with The Walking Dead that other TV networks envy. And as the franchise rounds the corner toward its 10th year adaptating Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels, AMC is reportedly eying ways to extend its media reach to achieve the kind of longevity enjoyed by enduring story universes from Star Wars and Marvel.
Bloomberg reports that AMC is prepared to open its checkbook as it seeks to partner with major studios to help spin The Walking Dead into a much bigger franchise; one that features movies, streaming shows, and a continuing presence on the network’s mainstay TV channel.
Citing unnamed insiders who are “familiar with the plans,” the report states that AMC “has talked to several large media companies about partnering on the projects, which collectively could cost several hundred million dollars.”
AMC reportedly is still in the planning stages and unprepared to offer details. But in the near term, the idea is to devise a way for The Walking Dead to entrench itself even further into pop culture consciousness over the next decade by creating new stories that can spread across TV, film, and on-demand platforms to carve out a lasting and self-perpetuating narrative for fans to access from many directions.
“With the original show entering its ninth season, AMC is looking for ways to expand the series into a franchise that lives on in many forms, like Star Wars and Star Trek, and not overextend a property that’s already showing signs of fatigue,” Bloomberg explains.
While it’s tough to say for sure that the ratings dip TWD saw during Season 8 is the result of fatigue — either from fans or the show’s creators — it won’t be long until we get a better idea. Season 9 will debut with significant changes to the formula, even as the show veers farther from Kirkman’s comic book story beats, when it lands back at AMC on Oct. 7.