Most pilots are lucky to get a series order. But when you are tied to the biggest show on television, you are not most pilots. AMC has given a two-season order to The Walking Dead companion series project, which it picked up to pilot last fall. That matches the two-season initial pickup the network gave to the offshoot of another of its signature dramas, Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. (That project, featuring characters from the mothership show, went straight to series.)
The first season of the new series will consist of six episodes, matching the original run of The Walking Dead, to air in late summer, likely leading to the new sixth season of the mothership series. Season 2, presumably, a regular size, will air in 2016. (Its exact number of episodes is TBD.) The Walking Dead aired a 13-episode second season before settling into a 16-episode installment split into two, starting with Season 3.
The Walking Dead companion series (title still TBA) is set in Los Angeles and focuses on new characters and storylines. Cliff Curtis, Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam Carey star.Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and David Alpert from The Walking Dead are executive producing for AMC Studios. Dave Erickson, who co-created and co-wrote the pilot with Kirkman, is an executive producer and showrunner. Adam Davidson directed the pilot episode.
“We take incredibly seriously the notion of building a satisfying companion series to the number one show on television. From the beginning of The Walking Dead on AMC, we’ve been asked questions about what was going on in other parts of the zombie apocalypse, and what it looked like as the world really did ‘turn.’ Through this new series, we’re going to find out,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “We respectfully follow the request of Monty Python as we bring out (the latest of) our Dead.”
AMC Global, the international AMC-branded television network, has acquired the international television rights to the series, which it plans to air within 24 hours of the U.S. premiere. (The Walking Dead is being carried by the Fox International Channels outside of the U.S.) AMC Global launched in late 2014 and is available in over 115 countries and territories throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.