AMC announced on Monday that they are expanding the universe of their flagship franchise, The Walking Dead, with a new
spinoff “companion series”, featuring a new cast and an entirely original storyline.
The new companion series will be executive produced by the creator of the Walking Dead comic series Robert Kirkman, along with fellow The Walking Dead producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert, and has a tentatively scheduled premiere set for 2015.
In a released statement, AMC president Charlie Collier said:
“Building on the success of the most popular show on television for adults 18-49 is literally a no-brainer. We look forward to working with Robert, Gale and Dave again as we develop an entirely new story and cast of characters. It’s a big world and we can’t wait to give fans another unforgettable view of the zombie apocalypse.”
On the planned series, Kirkman added:
“After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of The Walking Dead universe. The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.”
This really does seem like a no-brainer for AMC. Their two, longest running series are coming to an end (Breaking Bad, this year; and Mad Men, next year), and their most recent original dramas have not been met with great acclaim (The Killing has been cancelled, and shows like Hell on Wheels and Low Winter Sun have not gained the traction you’d expect). It makes perfect sense that AMC would want to expand their most popular series and continue their creative partnership with Kirkman, Hurd, and Alpert; much in the same way they are continuing their relationship with the mind behind Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, with the recently confirmed Better Call Saul spinoff-prequel of that series. Whether or not you think either spinoff is a good creative move–I think they both have a chance to be great–there’s no denying AMC is making two very smart business moves.
This new companion series/spinoff marks AMC’s third program in their Walking Dead empire business, if you include the Chris Hardwick-hosted Talking Dead (which you always should). The fourth season (and by most prognostications, the best season, so far) of The Walking Dead premieres October 13, 2013, and will again be followed by the live aftershow Talking Dead.