AMC is set to deliver what chief operating officer Ed Carroll calls a level of consistency “that’s not happened before,” in 2020, when it delivers some iteration of ‘The Walking Dead’ for 42 Sundays. There will only be ten Sundays next year that doesn’t feature a new episode of a ‘Walking Dead’ series. That includes the flagship series, which is now in its tenth season, ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, which will be in its sixth when it returns, and an as-yet-unnamed third series, that is filming now for release in the spring.
There were no specific dates announced, but ‘The Walking Dead’ airs in the fall-spring, with a few weeks off during December and January. ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ usually starts airing in the spring, stretching all the way to fall. Its scheduling has varied year-to-year, with some seasons spanning from April to October, and others airing in a more compact period of time.
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What may happen is that ‘The Walking Dead’s current season will run until March or April, with the new series coming after that, followed by ‘Fear’ which will kick off sometime in the summer and stretching until October, the month when the flagship series always launches its new seasons.
The main show’s winter hiatus is not going away, so that will account for some of the off-weeks. Nearly every show goes on hiatus during December because people are too busy with the holidays to tune in to their regular programs. The creators of ‘The Walking Dead’ also structure its seasons around that break, usually ending the first half of the season with a harrowing cliffhanger to keep viewers guessing until the show returns. ‘Fear’ has also used this cliffhanger/hiatus tactic, so they may continue to do so, or the off-weeks could come as a buffer in between the different shows.
This news emerges as AMC has announced plans to aggressively move into the streaming market. The network is already using bonus material and early access to lure viewers to its AMC Premiere service, and it seems to be working. It is also reevaluating its existing deals with Netflix and Hulu. It has already brokered a new deal with Amazon to deliver the third unnamed series abroad to markets that don’t receive their own versions of AMC.
It’s true ratings are down for ‘The Walking Dead’, but some of that can be explained by the fact that some viewers have stopped watching TV the old fashioned way.
What do you think about new ‘Walking Dead’ episodes nearly all year long?