Since its second season debuted Oct. 16 to ratings that would (and I assume did) make broadcast networks envious, you should have expected this, but AMC made it official: The Walking Dead will swarm across your TV for a third season.
Does this mean a turnaround in a year of bad publicity for AMC (which suffered bad ratings for Rubicon, bad press for The Killing and bad handling of the renewals of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and, yep, The Walking Dead)? Well, the good news at least stops the downhill momentum. Whether the narrative trendline goes all-out upward may depend in part on next month’s Hell on Wheels, a dark, ambitious Western (though I found the pilot underwhelming, but have more episodes yet to watch).
If it’s a hit too, expect the AMC front office to be feted as geniuses once again. But you’d think they might have hedged their bets and written in a cowboy werewolf or two. Excerpts from the press release follow:
AMC RENEWS “THE WALKING DEAD”
AMC’S SECOND SEASON CONTINUES TO DELIVER
MORE ADULTS 18-49 THAN ANY OTHER
BASIC CABLE DRAMA IN TELEVISION HISTORY
FOX INTERNATIONAL CHANNELS (FIC) GLOBAL PREMIERE DELIVERS MORE THAN 10 MILLION LIVE PAY-TV VIEWERS TO BECOME THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BASIC CABLE DRAMA OUTSIDE OF THE US
New York – October 25, 2011 – AMC announced today the renewal of “The Walking Dead” for a third season. Season two continues to deliver the strongest telecasts for any drama in basic cable history against Adults 18-49 shattering a basic cable record set nearly 10 years ago for a single drama telecast (“The Dead Zone”). “The Walking Dead” is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics. Glen Mazzara serves as series’ showrunner. Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Frank Darabont are executive producers. Greg Nicotero is a co-executive producer.
“Today we are pleased to announce that the ‘dead’ shall live as we proudly renew ‘The Walking Dead’ for a third season on AMC and, globally, with our terrific partners at Fox International Channels,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s President. “We are thankful for everyone’s contribution in front of and behind the camera as we continue to make ‘The Walking Dead’ a unique television experience. And, we are so proud as it continues to set viewership records around the world.”
FOX International Channels rolled-out its global launch for “The Walking Dead” this weekend, with premieres on FIC’s cable networks in Europe, Asia, Latin American, Africa and the Middle East. The series’ international premieres delivered equally impressive results in all major international TV markets, and broke pay-TV ratings’ records across the world. Over 10 million viewers in 122 countries tuned in live to watch the second season premiere of this highly anticipated returning drama. And, FIC will once again be the international broadcasting partner for the series with Entertainment One continuing to distribute in non-FIC markets.
“Partnering with AMC on ‘The Walking Dead’ took some guts”, said Sharon Tal Yguado, SVP of Scripted Programming at FIC…
Yep, guts. Delicious, delicious guts.