AMC will bring back The Walking Dead for a ninth season, but with a new showrunner. Based on the Image Comic by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead continues to be one of television's biggest draws, even with ratings falling. Currently in its mid-season break for season 8, AMC doesn't see an end in sight. They've continued to preach the longevity that the show has, especially as Kirkman continues to release new comics - giving them even more material to mine from.
The future of The Walking Dead past season 8 was never really in doubt, but a change appeared to be something it could use. The declining ratings for the show come with more people finding the series to have lost its way. To the surprise of no one, season 8 isn't going to be the last, but a big change is coming.
AMC officially renewed The Walking Dead for a ninth season today and announced it will get a new showrunner. Current showrunner Scott Gimple is being promoted to a new position that oversees all Walking Dead related content. His promotion leaves the showrunner job vacant, and they've appointed Angela Kang to steer the series moving forward. Kang has served as a writer since 2011 and executive producer since 2013. AMC President Charlie Collier had this to say about the shakeup:
This is an enormously important day for the entire ‘The Walking Dead’ television universe. We are proud to acknowledge Angela’s significant contribution to the series and to set a clear path forward for a ninth season under her direction. Further, with gratitude and admiration, we also recognize Scott’s broad impact on, and leadership of, the content that fuels our TWD universe. Together, we will dream bigger and more broadly than ever before. I know I speak for Angela, Scott and everyone at AMC when I say thanks most of all to the fans and the many talented people who have helped AMC play ‘Dead.’
Even with ratings falling, AMC renewing The Walking Dead for another season is hardly a surprising move. It is AMC's biggest property, and they are very invested in the entire universe they've created. Fear the Walking Dead will see its fourth season debut later this year, so bringing back The Walking Dead for a ninth makes sense. It is thanks to having multiple series and possible new ventures that brought about the need for Gimple's role to expand.
The potentially bigger piece of news here is Kang becoming the new showrunner. She is clearly very familiar with the property, but many times a series getting a new showrunner can signal a new direction coming. As the showrunner, Kang should have more influence in dictating where things go, and could breathe new life into The Walking Dead in season 9 and beyond. Gimple will surely still have some input and oversight thanks to his new role, but hopefully Kang's imprint will be felt.
With the renewal coming midway through season 8, there is no telling how different the show will look come season 9 anyways. They are already going to lose Chandler Riggs upon its return, and The Walking Dead is known for killing off big characters unexpectedly. The point is, The Walking Dead could look and feel like a very different show next season, which may just be a good thing.
The Walking Dead season 8 continues Sunday, February 25 on AMC.