For a while now, AMC has done its best to tease the possibility of a Walking Dead companion series that is rumored to have received the title of Fear the Walking Dead or The Walking Dead: Cobalt. Now, after weeks of radio silence, there’s some fresh news to report.
In a new interview with Gale Anne Hurd, the executive producer stated the pilot for the new show had recently wrapped production, but despite the immense buzz, the show has yet to receive a series order from AMC.
Put simply, the lack of a series order should neither deter those pulling for a spinoff nor cause celebration in those who aren’t. In addition to the pilot process taking a substantial more amount of time in cable TV compared to broadcast – and upfronts still being a few months away – AMC has the added dilemma of trying to figure out where it would place such a series on its schedule.
Currently, the Sunday night block is dominated by the mothership series and its after-show, Talking Dead. This means there would be nowhere to put the spinoff show without pushing Talking Dead to a later point in the night, something AMC may not be inclined to do considering the choice it made to place Better Call Saul on Mondays. Of course, some may consider the possibility of having Talking Dead cover both series at once when in season, but that raises its own dilemmas.
After it became clear how stuffed the format was initially, Talking Dead was expanded after its first season from a 30-60 minute runtime just for covering aspects of The Walking Dead itself. Adding a second series discussion into the format would be nearly impossible without also expanding the after-show by at least a half-hour. But there’s another option on the table for AMC depending on the kind of audience it wants to retain throughout the year.
One thing the network could decide to do is air the new show during the mothership series’ hiatus between the fall and spring.
In essence, it would be similar to what Marvel tried this year with Agent Carter. By placing a related series in between episode runs, it keeps the audience around. And, unlike Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the audience of The Walking Dead is massive and could potentially latch on fairly quickly to a new series that allows them to explore the fictional world’s timeline more (at the moment, word is the companion series is a prequel covering the early days of the zombie apocalypse in Los Angeles).
Stay tuned for more on The Walking Dead’s companion series as it develops.