The Walking Dead might be a ratings juggernaut, but there’s one event that not even a show with Rick Grimes can touch: The Super Bowl.
NFL’s Super Bowl is a major event that saw 112.2 million viewers tune in for last season. Even though The Walking Dead has an insanely rabid fan base full of loyal viewers, it would be difficult to compete with a program of that magnitude. Instead, AMC’s hit show has devised a great way to both give themselves time to make sure everything is up to standards and not be up against the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl.
Here is what AMC president Charlie Collier said about the competition with the National Football League in a recent Sports Illustrated interview:
"”We don’t per se look at The Walking Dead in comparison to the NFL. What we are really trying to do is create a fan experience and an event each week that moves and engages every viewer. For fans of The Walking Dead, the show is like their favorite team playing a home game on national TV every week.”"
The Walking Dead started their midseason breaks during their second season. The breaks tend to start in either late November or December, yet always seem to end exactly one week after Super Bowl Sunday. Since the span always completely misses the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl, it could seem like just a coincidence.
In that Sports Illustrated article, Charlie Collier said that it was no coincidence and that the scheduling of The Walking Dead’s midseason break is intentional.
"He said his network scheduled this year’s show with deference to the NFL’s late-season schedule and playoffs, which is why The Walking Dead ended its run on Nov. 30 and will pick up again on Feb. 8, a week after Super Bowl XLIX. Collier said network research showed that there was a lot of crossover between The Walking Dead fans and NFL fans, and out of respect for those fans, the AMC show will go on hiatus during the NFL’s most important time."
While there are many fans of The Walking Dead out there that couldn’t care less about the National Football League or any form of professional sports, it turns out that the midseason break has much more to do with football than we ever thought it did. And The Walking Dead has grown by leaps and bounds because of the ingenious scheduling by AMC.
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