AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan says that he wants The Walking Dead franchise to continue producing new episodes for decades to come. That desire probably won't sit well with the franchise's many detractors, who argue that both the original TWD series and its spinoff Fear the Walking Dead have worn out their welcomes. Those sentiments aside, TWD remains the highest rated drama in all of TV, and will likely stay on that perch for the foreseeable future.
The Walking Dead recently kicked off its eighth season, set to feature the All-Out War between Rick's united forces and Negan's brutal Saviors. The first two episodes of season 8 have seen the ratings take a notable hit, although still not close to enough of one to knock TWD out of the top spot. It's still a bit too early on to try and predict all the twists and turns that might be coming as season 8 rolls on, but there's no reason not to expect that at least a few series regulars will meet a gory demise.
Despite the aforementioned ratings drop, it seems that AMC is still more than happy with The Walking Dead, and doesn't want it to leave their schedule anytime soon. During a Wall Street conference call earlier today, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan expressed his belief that TWD has a good chance at remaining a top performer for many more years, and said that he can envision the franchise continuing on for decades. Here's his full quote, via Deadline.
"“The use of the word ‘franchise,’ we don’t take lightly. It’s not a sloppy or casual word. We’ve studied the best. Some have been around 30, 40, 50 years. We have a chance for a lot of life in the franchise.”
One thing that stands out about what Sapan said is that he didn't specify whether he thinks that the original Walking Dead series will itself potentially continue on for decades, or just the overall Walking Dead franchise. The latter seems like the more realistic option, as TWD's apocalyptic world potentially contains thousands of different stories, each focusing on a different survivor - or group of survivors - trying to stay alive in a different location. For example, what might a TWD spinoff focusing on survivors in England or Canada look like? It could be fun to find out.
Sapan's statement comes at a time when the Walking Dead franchise is preparing for a big change, as a character from one series is set to crossover to the other next year. It remains to be seen who that character will be, although many fans suspected it might be Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz). Producer Greg Nicotero recently downplayed that theory though, so it looks like fans might have to keep on guessing for awhile.
The Walking Dead season 8 airs Sundays on AMC.