With The Walking Dead landing a season 9 pickup, talk inevitably moves to the show’s future. But will money be a factor in keeping the show alive?
The Walking Dead has been renewed for season 9, and there’s no evidence that AMC will stop making The Walking Dead because it costs too much to pay the cast and produce 16 episodes per season. The Walking Dead is one of the least expensive shows to produce on television these days, and AMC is making a ton of money in return for its investment. It’s for that reason that there is every possibility that The Walking Dead will be able to continue well into the future, and that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Initially, The Walking Dead was a little pricey to produce for the network. After the first season, AMC kept the show within about a $3 million budget per episode and has been in that range ever since. While this sounds like a lot, it’s less than half of what HBO pays for Game of Thrones, which can cost between $6 and $10 million per episode.
Andrew Lincoln is one of The Walking Dead’s remaining original characters. He’s rumored to be making around $100,000 an episode, which translates to $1.6 million per season. Compare that to Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki of Big Bang Theory: Both actors, along with costar Kaley Cuoco, make $1 million per episode. With an average of 22 episodes per season, you can do the math. CBS is paying over $60 million for those three cast members per season alone, and that doesn’t factor in the other 4 actors who comprise the main cast.
Looking at Lincoln’s salary with that lens tells us that AMC really is cashing in on The Walking Dead given the cost to produce each episode and the payroll for the cast. For those who think the show is going to fall apart in 2020 due to rising production costs, the truth is that the numbers just aren’t there to prove that theory. AMC is making plenty of money on this show, and with the number of longstanding cast members diminishing, so too does the need to pay Andrew Lincoln or Norman Reedus kind of salaries to newcomers. New cast members won’t start out making those kinds of salaries, and as the cast evolves and higher paid actors phase out, the show’s payroll will evolve as well.
So why would actors agree to make so little for The Walking Dead, one of the top shows on cable, when network actors are making so much more?
One answer might be the fact that The Walking Dead actors have the ability to cash in on convention appearances. Whereas it was once a sign of trying to keep careers alive, making convention appearances has now become par for the course. The Walking Dead stars know that Walker Stalker Con will always welcome them whether or not they are still on the show. Stars can make a nice paycheck just for showing up on a weekend to sign autographs and take pictures. It’s not a bad gig for them at all.
More from Undead Walking
- Walking Dead alum Jayson Warner Smith promotes new film, Chipper, watch it now
- Walking Dead actor Chandler Riggs filming new movie in Tampa Bay
- Why is there no season 12 of The Walking Dead?
- Will Morgan Jones find Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live spinoff?
- Watch Tales of TWD actress Jillian Bell in Prime Video’s Candy Cane Lane
Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus are currently negotiating their contracts for season 9 and are expected to return. Given that the extended rating support The Walking Dead’s continued dominance on television, there’s nothing that supports the idea that The Walking Dead is going anywhere anytime soon.