The Walking Dead has occasionally wavered in quality during its past seasons, with the plot sometimes dragging along far too slowly, but so far the fourth season is off to a gripping start. Without giving away major spoilers for those who aren’t caught up yet, the last three episodes alone have featured plenty of zombie action, some brutal human-on-human violence, a worryingly high death count and the introduction of a brand new threat that’s dangerous enough to wipe out every single survivor in the prison.

Numbers are just as important as reviews, however, and in this area The Walking Dead continues to be a flagship show for AMC. The show broke all its previous records when an updated total of 20.2 million viewers tuned in for the season 4 premiere earlier this month. It didn’t take long for these ratings to impact upon AMC’s future plans for the show.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, AMC announced today that The Walking Dead has been renewed for a fifth season, with Scott Gimple returning as showrunner and comic book author Robert Kirkman maintaining his executive producer role, along with Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero and Tom Luse. AMC president Charlie Collier made with announcement with the following statement:

“We are very happy to make what has to be one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever: The Walking Dead is renewed for a fifth season. This is a show that has erased traditional distinctions between cable and broadcast. Its expanding base of passionate fans has grown every season, most recently – and most notably – with the season four premiere earlier this month, which broke viewership records for the series and became the biggest non-sports telecast in cable history. On behalf of the incredible team on both sides of the camera, thank you to the fans and here’s to more Dead.”

Like the zombies that lend their name to it, The Walking Dead is going to be a tough show to ever kill off, and earlier this year AMC Networks CEO Josh Kaplan said that he expects the show will still be around in 2022. Striking all the right chords of drama, horror and gore, The Walking Dead may well continue in the spirit of the comic book series, which has already been running for over a decade.

Last month AMC also announced that a companion series to The Walking Dead is currently in development and is set to air in 2015. The spin-off would feature entirely new characters and be separate from the comic book fans, so even those familiar with the source material would have a hard time guessing what might happen next.

Today has been a big day for announcements related to The Walking Dead; over in gaming news, Telltale Games today revealed the first trailer for the second season of The Walking Dead video game, with fan-favorite character Clementine returning to the dangerous world of post-zombie outbreak America. Meanwhile, issue #116 of Kirkman’s comic book series is set for release on November 13th.

The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with ‘Indifference’ @9pm on AMC.

Source: AMC