The Walking Dead has been renewed for fifth season, AMC president Charlie Collier announced Tuesday.
“This is a show that has erased traditional distinctions between cable and broadcast,” Collier said in a statement. “Its expanding base of passionate fans has grown every season, most recently – and most notably – with the season four premiere earlier this month, which broke viewership records for the series and became the biggest non-sports telecast in cable history.”
Collier added, “On behalf of the incredible team on both sides of the camera, thank you to the fans and here’s to more Dead.” So far, AMC has not announced an episode count for the fifth season.
The Walking Dead season four premiere, “30 Days Without an Accident,” broke cable records and drew its highest ratings ever with 16.1 million viewers. The previous record for a cable entertainment program was 12.4 million viewers. The season premiere also drew 10.4 million viewers in the key adults 18-49 demographic with an 8.2 rating.
The most recent episode, “Isolation,” drew 12.9 million viewers, with a 6.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic (8.6 million viewers).
Charlie Collier also announced that Scott Gimple will continue as showrunner next season. Gimple joined the series in the second season, and was promoted to showrunner after Glen Mazzara’s departure in late 2012. Mazzara, who succeeded Frank Darabont after he was fired early in season two, left over a difference of opinions about the direction of the series.
Shortly after the season four premiere, star Andrew Lincoln warned that “something terrible happens” that divides the group and puts more pressure on the survivors. As we’ve seen from the first three episodes, there is a new virus infecting the survivors that turns them into walkers instantly. Those who were exposed to the virus — including Glenn and Sasha — are separated from the others to keep it from spreading, and Hershel suggests a group go to a nearby veterinary college to find medication to help the infected.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm on AMC.