AMC is jumping on the “spin-off” bandwagon. With Breaking Bad ending, a Bob Odenkirk-headlined spinoff called “Better Call Saul” is in the works, although whether anyone will want to revisit the Breaking Bad world after last night’s devastating, bleak, and horrifying “Ozymandias” is anyone’s guess. How dark was “Ozymandias”? It makes The Walking Dead look like SHAUN OF THE DEAD.
Anyway, with zombies showing no signs of slowing their shamble to record ratings, AMC has announced a Walking Dead “companion series” based on the comics, and produced by Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, and David Alpert. The target air date is 2015.
“Building on the success of the most popular show on television for adults 18-49 is literally a no-brainer,” AMC president and GM Charlie Collier said. “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.”
“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,” said Kirkman in a statement. “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.”
Kirkman’s speedy imagination aside, AMC has every reason to spin off the show: it’s a ratings juggernaut, with every season premiere setting a new record for ratings, and it’s currently cable’s #1 rated show. Even a spin-off chat fest, The Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick, has been a big ratings winner.
It’s also a win for Kirkman, who shows signs of becoming a showbiz maven with Thief of Thieves, based on the comic published by his Skybound imprint, also set up at AMC, and another Skybound comic, CLONE, in development at Universal. Although a new TV show makes sense, interestingly, Kirkman has always resisted spinning off the comic into other titles, preferring to keep the comics brand simple. Reprints of the WALKING DEAD comics have sold more than 2 million copies thus far.
Will Image publish a comic to go along with the new show?
The Walking Dead’s fourth season, led by new showrunner Scott M. Gimple, kicks off on Oct. 13.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.