The Walking Dead is not the ratings juggernaut it once was for AMC. Viewership has dropped by many millions since the peak of the show, leading to speculation that the series is on its last legs. Still, even with falling ratings, the show remains one of the most popular programs on television. AMC also remains optimistic about its future, suggesting the show could go on for another ten years. For now, the show is safe, as the network has already renewed it for a tenth season. At this point, however, the possibility remains that season 10 could be the show's last run if the shrinking ratings aren't curbed by then. Showrunner Angela Kang recently spoke about the future of The Walking Dead, and while she's not treating the next season as the end, she recognizes that season 11 isn't guaranteed.
"I'm approaching it as I've got to make a great 10th season. I can't assume anything. It's a thing that writers certainly talk about a lot. You can fall into a trap just planning ahead and saving the great material for later. We always have to approach it as - we got to put the good material in now."
Angela Kang is one of many showrunners to be guiding the creative direction of the series since its inception. At the start, filmmaker Frank Darabont was in charge following his efforts to develop the series for television. After AMC controversially fired him during the production of season 2, Glen Mazzara came on board to replace him. Mazzara's run lasted until the end of season 3, when he opted to depart the series as well. Scott M. Gimple was brought in at the start of season 4, showrunning until the conclusion of season 8 last year. The current ninth season began under Kang's watch, and her work will continue into season 10.
It's obviously going to be an uphill battle for Kang to keep the series going, given the major challenges thrown her way. Because Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan chose to leave the series, both Rick Grimes and Maggie Greene-Rhee were forced to be written out in the first half of season 9. Danai Gurira has also been confirmed to soon be exiting the series as well. While some big names like Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier are still going strong, Kang has the task of reinventing the series with mostly new characters and storylines.
What has been working in Kang's favor is the critical reception the current season has been seeing. Some fans have been vocal about The Walking Dead getting more interesting than it has been in years. The problem is that, by this point, too many viewers have already quit watching, and getting them to return with so many of their favorite characters gone is not going to be easy. It's unlikely the show will ever reach the heights it was at a few seasons ago, but as long as enough people keep tuning in, Kang has no plans of stepping away anytime soon.
Not everybody has stuck with The Walking Dead, but it seems there will always be a dedicated fan base watching new episodes of the show every week. Ultimately, there will hopefully be enough of them watching for Kang and everyone else involved to continue their work on the series. Kang's words were originally printed over at Insider.