AMC's The Walking Dead Season 8 kicked off with a bang. Well, at least there was a lot of action involved. There's been some mixed response to the way that the new season is handling the timeline, but it at least seems to be a little less frustrating than the Season 7 cliffhanger resolution. The important thing is that The Walking Dead ratings are still very strong, which, at least as far as AMC is concerned, is the most important thing. Especially since AMC CEO Josh Sapan has lofty plans for the franchise. How lofty? He thinks it can potentially last for 50 years.

Josh Sapan recently held a conference call in order to discuss the network's strong quarterly ratings. During the course of the call, as one might expect, he talked a bit about The Walking Dead and the future of the hit series. Or, as he describes it here, a franchise. He reveals that AMC has "studied the best" franchises around and they intend to try and model The Walking Dead after the best. Here's what he had to say about it.

"The use of the word 'franchise,' we don't take lightly. It's not a sloppy or casual word. We've studied the best. Some have been around 30, 40, 50 years. We have a chance for a lot of life in the franchise."

While he doesn't come right out and say they want The Walking Dead to last several decades, but that is certainly the implication of that statement. Sapan added that the franchise is "in great shape and the people who are managing that great shape are motivated." That may be the case, but motivated or not, it's a pretty amazing expectation that The Walking Dead, in whatever form it may take over the years, could possibly last anywhere near that long.

AMC has no plans to end The Walking Dead anytime soon and Fear The Walking Dead just wrapped up its third season. Though both shows have seen ratings drops, they are still insanely popular shows. Especially The Walking Dead, which remains one of the most popular shows on the planet. It's also helped spawn Talking Dead, which is another hit show for AMC. Plus there's all of the merchandising opportunities that come along with something like this. So it's easy to see why Josh Sapan would want to look at some of the most successful franchises, such as Star Wars, James Bond, Indiana Jones or Star Trek, and hope to emulate that kind of sustainability.

Related: Walking Dead Showrunner Expects Maggie to Return in Season 10

The Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman is heavily involved in the shows, but he recently announced that he's working on wrapping up the Walking Dead comic book series. He didn't indicate when that's going to happen, but he's building to that point. So at some point, AMC will run out of material from the books, but there's always room to expand. As Deadline tells it, they don't have any plans on ending The Walking Dead, even if the comics do wrap up. So expect walkers to be on the small screen for many years to come.