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As the titles, the walkers, and our hope of survival decays with each season, many have wondered if #TheWalkingDead will ever shuffle toward an endgame. As #RobertKirman's #comicbook series of the same name is still hungry for flesh at 166 issues, and promises that the show will NEVER overtake its source material, should we hunker down for a never-ending apocalypse over on AMC?
Showrunner #ScottGimple has already teased that Andrew Lincoln will still be playing Rick Grimes in Season 20, but it is actually less of a joke than you might think for the show to aim past its teens. Twenty seasons might seem like a far-off goal post, but as we hone in on Season 8 of the #horror-drama, it still remains one of the most popular shows on network television. More than this, Gimple has directly cited shows like The Simpsons and its 28 seasons as a challenge accepted.
So, beyond some cataclysmic real-life apocalypse, it really does looks like The Walking Dead is the show that will just keep on dragging its trailing intestines into the future of TV scheduling.
Not Dead Yet
Interestingly, business media outlet Forbes has prophesied that AMC will NEVER cancel The Walking Dead, meaning that it really could run forever!
Great news for us avid Dead-Heads, but bad news for those who already fear that they are losing their appetite for the show. As popular entities like Sleepy Hollow and Last Man Standing fall to the great axe from above, TWD remains the stallion that AMC continues to ride. With the lowest ratings since Season 3, the question of "if" The Walking Dead will be cancelled has obviously done the rounds, but almost rhetorically, it is a big fat no.
If you look at AMC, it recently renewed its little-known western The Son, despite it only averaging 1.3–1.5 million viewers. Elsewhere, Into the Badlands gets a third season even though it dipped from 3.2 million to 1.2, while Fear The Walking Dead was renewed for Season 4 before the third even aired — including a slump to a low of 3 million viewers. There is no denying that The Walking Dead is king of the pack and eclipses the miraculously renewed Halt and Catch Fire and its 0.3 average.
Yes, The Walking Dead may have had a slight ratings dip, but even in terms of other networks like ABC, The CW, and NBC, it is still a big hitter with its wire-wrapped baseball bat.
Burying The Truth
Without jinxing it, TWD will almost certainly never be in any ratings trouble — even if the whole channel folded, other networks would be foolish not to scoop up the gooey entrails that AMC had left behind. Perhaps the only thing that could affect the ongoing zombie horde would be budget cuts. Keeping Rick Grimes sweet, and installing various CGI deer/tigers is no cheap endeavor. Also, with on-location shooting, there are no wobbly sets and live audiences to hide behind here.
However, this is where The Walking Dead pulls out another crossbow and shoots down its naysayers. Sets like the Alexandria Safe Zone, the Hilltop, and the Sanctuary are now up and running. Even without following the comic books to the letter, the action is sure to be focused at locations like this for the foreseeable future, meaning that there is no need to go around building some lavish new palace of zombies.
As for the cast, we have seen time and time again that nobody is safe. Unlike Game of Thrones, no one man or woman is key to the conclusion of The Walking Dead — not that it even has one. If Lincoln were ever to pull the foolish move and demand an extortionate pay raise, I'm sure Kirkman and co. would have no problem chopping off more than just his character's hand. In fact, Kirkman has always remained solemn in the fact that everyone will die someday, which is emphasized in his most recent big comic book death.
Again, looking over at the big budgets of Game of Thrones, the actors for the final two seasons will be bagging an extortionate $2.5 million per episode. The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are thankfully miles apart in terms of both demographic and cost. So, as the grimy sibling of HBO's fantasy series, The Walking Dead could continue to function on a variable shoestring, which is always a good thing in an era of budget cuts and shows failing left, right, and center.
The Walking Dead has become the focus of AMC and the channel's execs are probably more likely to drag themselves into an unmarked grave then let the show dwindle into nothingness. Tool up for the long-haul, guys, this is one virus that just keeps on spreading!