While at least one main cast member will be done by the end of the season 7 premiere episode of The Walking Dead, others will live on for some time, as AMC has officially renewed the series for an eighth season, set to premiere in late 2017, Variety reports.
The renewal surprises no one, considering that The Walking Dead is a ratings pull for AMC, and has a massive legion of loyal fans. The season 6 finale, which aired in March, reportedly brought in 18.4 million viewers, based on Nielsen numbers for live+3, making it the No. 1 TV show among adults aged 18-49.
The eighth season, which will most certainly involve a host of new cast members and some noticeably missing faces, will include 16 episodes, and will continue to be followed up by the post-show talk show, Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick.
It’s clear AMC has high hopes for its upcoming season 7 premiere. Set to air this Sunday, October 23, it will finally resolve a six-month cliffhanger over which main cast member gets clobbered to death by Negan and his barbed-wire bat Lucille. A special two-hour retrospective on the show aired this past Sunday was aimed primarily at those who haven’t yet watched the series, and appeared to be an attempt to get more viewers geared up not just for the season premiere, but for getting on board with the show on the whole. In addition to the retrospective, AMC is also running a marathon of past episodes, making it easy for non-fans to binge their way right through, and onto a live season 7.
While it seems like a no-brainer (pun intended) for the show to be renewed, as with any great series, The Walking Dead will eventually have to come to an end. Sometimes, it’s better to end things on a high note, as was done with AMC sister series Breaking Bad. So the renewal news is a big sigh of relief for die-hards who may have been a little worried, and weren’t quite ready to say goodbye just yet.