As someone who owns stock in AMC Networks, I can understand a move like this, from a shareholder's POV. But from an audience's/fan's perspective, I'm not so sure.
AMC Network's stock has been in a bit of a slump lately, since their last earning's report, and some analysts are predicting ratings struggles ahead for the company's flagship network, AMC TV (they also own the Sundance Channel, IFC and WEtv), because 2 of its most successful series - Breaking Bad and Mad Men, are both going into their final seasons on the network (Break Bad is already underway; Mad Men returns next summer). And also, its new series, Low Winter Sun, doesn't seem to have really caught fire with viewers yet. Although that doesn't mean it's down and out for the count.
So today's news isn't at all a surprise to me. It's a no-brainer actually: milk your most popular series.
AMC announced today via press release that the network is in the initial stages of developing a spin-off to The Walking Dead, its most successful brand, currently the #1 show on television among adults.
No word on what exactly the plot line for this spin-off will be, but, as Charlie Collier, AMC's GM says, “... 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.”
So it sounds like it'll obviously remain within the Walking Dead zombie apocalypse universe. Hopefully it won't just follow another group of survivors.
Keep in mind that the network has already announced a spin-off series of its other popular series, Breaking Bad, which will be based on the Saul Goodman lawyer character, with the working title being Better Call Saul.
Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert are on board as executive producers, with AMC Studios set to produce.
The spin-off series has a target debut date of during the 2015 TV season.
Season four of The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 13.
In addition to Low Winter Sun, AMC recently greenlit two new drama series for 2014, Halt & Catch Fire and Turn. The network today began shooting a new pilot, Line Of Sight, directed and executive produced by Jonathan Demme.