Walking Dead fans shouldn’t get comfortable, any show can get canceled

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

AMC publicly stating Walking Dead can be around for 50 years shouldn’t get fans to relax and maybe forget to set the DVR Sunday, read some recaps instead.

Time for a hard talk, Walking Dead friends. Remember the days before zombie fever was all the rage on Television? Before Negan or The Governor or good ole’ Shane Walsh. Before Rick Grimes even woke up at the hospital. Remember those times? Good. Keep them in mind next time you skip an episode or bash the The Walking Dead or its counterpart Fear the Walking Dead on social media. A show’s existence relies on advertisers, meaning ratings and in modern times, social media likes and retweets.

A show is only as ‘good’ to advertisers as its ratings, not whether last episode was a cinematic masterpiece. Not whether Daryl Dixon makes it or not, or the latest character arc. In fact, advertisers only care for Daryl as a character for the bottom line… The massive viewership he brings to the show.

The same goes for any character on any series. Plenty of epic shows have been canceled before their time for the sin of declining viewership. Maybe, didn’t even get a chance to begin with. Buried on some Friday nightshift hour when everybody’s out.

The first warning sign: Fear the Walking Dead Crossover with The Walking Dead

Word of mouth spreads quick and many times unfairly. It seems Fear the Walking Dead has gotten a tarnished reputation it can’t shake at this point. Almost no matter what happens, no second chances. Which is why a Walking Dead main-line character is now needed to bring viewers back.

Remember when a crossover was never supposed to happen when Fear the Walking Dead was announced? Well Fear burst into the scene with a 10.13 million viewer count in its debut episode. Guess what last season started with… A 3.109, ending with a 2.230. Just think about going from a 10.1 in season one to a 3.1 in season three. Seven million people lost and that’s before the gradual decline in Season 3 afterwards.

Look, we don’t have any real, legit info on this matter… But it doesn’t take more than a wild guess that a crossover was likely pushed not as a request by execs if Fear the Walking Dead were to continue. They need to stop the bleeding now, not when ratings drop to below a 2 or worse.

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Now Fear the Walking Dead has made its share of mistakes. This season alone, getting rid of one of its most charismatic characters ever in Troy Otto for absolutely no identifiable reason.

Mere shock value? Luciana, a character on the rise basically disappearing for the second half of season 3.

Imagine if Lori Grimes had disappeared off The Walking Dead in season 1 instead of being in a love triangle with Rick and Shane… You think the show would have been the same? Definitely not. This was a perfect opportunity with Nick, Luciana, and Troy gone to waste.

However, was all that enough to drop this many viewers? Of course not. Fear has a damaged reputation in need of repair, that much must be conceded.

Walking Dead Fans Need to Learn from 24

Not every episode out there is going to be gold but fans have become complacent that The Walking Dead will always be there for them. That it’s forever. They’ve learned nothing from 24. The show’s sudden cancelation on Fox during Season 8 for a minor dip in ratings back in 2008. Guess when 24 came back after that? 2014. That’s almost 6 years of nothing for one of the highest rated TV shows of all time! Do you want that to happen to The Walking Dead?

Do you think 24’s cast and crew ever thought Fox would pull the plug on the series at all? Well they did. The show that really started the whole major character death bit, bit the dust for almost 6 years. Multiple seasons were said to have been signed before Season 8… Hint, hint.

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What season of The Walking Dead are we on? You really think it can’t happen? Think again. Jack Bauer was just as big a figure as Rick Grimes. If it can happen to Bauer it can happen to Grimes or anyone. If you don’t start watching your favorite show, it might someday not be there. Just like that.