Walking Dead owns top commercial fee with Rick, departure impact?

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: Andrew Lincoln walks onstage at AMC's "The Walking Dead" panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 20: Andrew Lincoln walks onstage at AMC's "The Walking Dead" panel during Comic-Con International 2018 at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

The Walking Dead dominated prices for a 30-second commercial to finish the 2017-2018 television season with Rick Grimes, what’ll happen without him?

According to Media Post and Standard Media Index, AMC’s The Walking Dead commanded a whopping average of $331,691 during season 8’s second quarter. In perspective, Ad Age once reported AMC’s Breaking Bad series finale was rumored to have asked between $300,000 – $400,000 from advertisers, for the same 30-second commercial spot. For 2017-2018 Fox’s Empire came in second after The Walking Dead with a reported average of $322,659 and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory recording an average of $295,138. Those are serious, major names The Walking Dead thwarted from taking the crown.

The question is how long will it all last post-Andrew Lincoln departure? In many ways, Fear the Walking Dead could have been a kind of experiment to see how fans would receive a non-Lincoln backed iteration of the series. These decisions are usually made years in advance, in fact, recently fans learned Andrew Lincoln was thinking of exiting the series back in season 4. Perhaps, that’s why Carl Grimes’ unexpected character end happened last season? Fear the Walking Dead recently saw the addition of a Walking Dead original in Morgan (with Nick and Madison Clark departing), meaning the experiment while successful, most likely needed a vital original boost. Especially, in the wake of lead Nick Clark (Frank Dillane) exiting which had the domino effect of impacting Madison Clark’s (Kim Dickens) character arc.

What happens when Rick Grimes is not around on the series to provide a shine over the whole television franchise and AMC as a whole? Will advertisers continue to break the bank without Andrew Lincoln being the series’ sun? There’s no question fans will tune in to see what happens to Rick Grimes in season 9. Even casuals from earlier season who haven’t caught an episode in years will return. Not to mention if Shane Walsh makes his anticipated cameo. It’s probable most tenured Walking Dead fans will stick around a bit post-shock to see the future of the series with a Rick Grimes. What about after? Fans have been vocal across social media, YouTube comments, and article replies that they will not watch the show without Andrew Lincoln/Rick Grimes.

Sure, some of it is just talk like lifetime WWE Monday Night Raw watchers who complain week to week while tuning in like clockwork for multiple decades… But not all of it is just talk, and there’s no doubt advertisers along with their market research are closely monitoring the situation.. Lincoln is the face of AMC at this point. When someone hears the network’s name they picture Sheriff Rick Grimes taking down some zombie walkers.

Ratings post-departure will matter more than ever before, talents like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Melissa McBride, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan and many more will be expected to shoulder the franchise and the network itself. They will be pushing a massive boulder uphill to sway fans who are jumping off this wagon after Rick goes. One or two so-so received episodes are all it takes for the giant rock to roll all the series’ goodwill built up over the years halfway, if not all the way down. The show will have to be cautious and maybe even bring in an outside major name to keep those commercial fees in record numbers with Lincoln gone. Better yet just quadruple Lincoln’s salary (or more, whatever it takes) already to get him to stay on before it’s too late!

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Even just a Heath style-exit for the time being with Rick disappearing rather than a true character end would be welcomed. Leaving the door open for future cameo appearances and maybe even a return down the line. Walking Dead fans don’t need any Rick Grimes’ closure! The rumored leaked spoilers never have to come to fruition. If commercial fees are one of the lifelines of a network, everything must be done to save it from jeopardy… Meaning do everything in its power to keep Rick.