As AMC gets ready to premiere the fifth season of its hit zombie drama The Walking Dead on Sunday, the network has announced that the series has been renewed for a sixth season. The Walking Dead struck a surprise cultural nerve when it premiered on the network in 2010 and has been the top-rated TV show among the coveted adults ages 18-49 demographic for two years running, a rarity for cable TV.
“We could not be more excited for October 12th as we share new episodes of The Walking Dead with fans around the globe,” said AMC President Charlie Collier in a statement seen by Entertainment Weekly. “In advance of Sunday’s season five premiere, AMC proudly confirms a sixth season order of this extraordinary series. Thank you to Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, the terrific executive producers, and the entire team who brings this compelling world and these rich characters to life. There’s plenty more Dead ahead thanks to their impressive, collective effort.”
This isn’t the only plan that AMC has to continue capitalizing on the show’s success. The network is also planning a spinoff that will take place in the same fictional, zombie-infested universe — just with different characters in a different location. Entertainment Weekly exclusively reported those plans early last month, saying that executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, and David Alpert will work on the new project, and Sons of Anarchy’s Dave Erickson has been named showrunner.
“There are many corners of The Walking Dead universe that remain unseen in the shadows,” Kirkman said to EW. “Being given the opportunity to shine a light into those corners and see what lurks out there is an absolute thrill. I know the fans are anxious to hear what Dave and I have been cooking up for this new universe of The Walking Dead, and I’m happy to be one step closer to sharing it with them.”
The Walking Dead has been a critical darling as well as a ratings juggernaut since its first season. The fourth season maintained high ratings, with an 89 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 75 Metascore on Metacritic, even as the show transitioned between showrunners. Variety has seen the first episode of Season 5 and called it “breathtaking,” saying: “The Walking Dead opens its fifth season in spectacular fashion, a dazzling adrenaline rush filled with suspense, righteous violence, and, before it’s all over, genuine emotion.”
Meanwhile, Alpert said earlier this summer that the Walking Dead team has enough material to continue with the series for a very long time. “I happen to love working from source material, specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what season 10 is gonna be. We know where season 11 and 12 … we have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we’re lucky enough to get there,” he said, per Indiewire. Despite the falloff in critical acclaim, if people keep tuning in for all the zombie carnage, then it’s quite possible The Walking Dead will live to be more than a decade old.
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