February 11, 2017
'The Walking Dead,' Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln And The Future Of AMC

The Walking Dead, starring Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus, is still the most watched show on television for those hard to reach younger viewers, according to Advertising Age. Unfortunately, perhaps due to a rather depressing plot twist, or the decline of pay TV, viewership is down by 11 percent.

Norman Reedus fans took it hard when Reedus' character Daryl Dixon was taken captive and tortured for weeks on The Walking Dead, not to mention the fact Glenn and Abraham were killed. The oppressive situation depicted in TWD 7A felt miserable for the cast and viewers.

The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes had to bow to the villainous Negan, portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. That just hasn't set right with the audience. Now, however, Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln are getting to play the part of heroes again and ratings will hopefully normalize in 7B.

The Walking Dead's writers had to allow miserable things to happen to Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln's characters, Daryl and Rick, in order to stay true to the graphic novel by Robert Kirkman on which the story is based. Kirkman was proving a credible reason for the "All Out War." Which is what is starting to happen in 7B.

Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln didn't like The Walking Dead season 7A plot any better than fans did, but it was necessary to show this for the future seasons to make sense. See this Inquisitr article for more information on why Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln hated 7A and love 7B.

Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln's sufferings on The Walking Dead, though, are only part of the overall rating drop problem. The rest could be attributed to the decline of cable TV as described in the Los Angeles Times. Netflix, Hulu, and other services are highly used but do not count toward TV ratings. Cable TV is not competing well in the current economy with 1.4 million fewer cable customers in 2016 than 2015.

Sadly, none of this makes sense to Wall Street. Investors don't even understand the many ways that AMC makes money from The Walking Dead, other than just the ratings and subsequent American advertising, according to Advertising Age. AMC had to reduce their advertising rates for The Walking Dead based on the numbers from season 7A, but they are still making money from foreign sales and streaming services.

Are Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln's jobs at risk now? Heavens no, it simply means that it's Josh Sapan, CEO of AMC Networks Inc., has to come up with solutions to these and other problems that face The Walking Dead and AMC as a whole.

Robert Kirkman The Creator of Walking Dead
Robert Kirkman the creator of 'The Walking Dead.' [Image by Robin Marchant/Getty Images]

The Walking Dead may owe it's soul to creative genius Robert Kirkman who wrote the story as a graphic novel series, but TWD owes its existence, as a television program to Josh Sapan, who seeks out good scripts for AMC. It is also Josh Sapan's job to navigate the stormy seas of an ever-changing global entertainment market, keeping AMC afloat.

Like Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln as Daryl and Rick, Josh Sapan is always looking for solutions and better ways to accomplish goals. Josh is the genius who discovered stories like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. This gave rise to AMC's rise to the top with huge ratings and a great reputation for unique programming.

Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln, along with the rest of The Walking Dead Cast and crew, have provided very well for AMC. The Walking Dead accounts for 15 percent of AMC's ad revenue, according to Advertising Age.

Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln have a bright future in The Walking Dead franchise, according to Josh Sapan who sees TWD as another Star Trek type franchise that will grow, spin-off and still be around for many decades, according to Advertising Age.

"The Walking Dead could have the same longevity as Star Trek, which is still producing new shows after 50 years. It still has a long, long creative life and a long, long commercial life."
The Walking Dead's Jeffery Dean Morgan and Norman Reedus
'The Walking Dead's' Jeffery Dean Morgan and Norman Reedus [Image by John Sciulli/Getty Images]

The Walking Dead franchise with Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln may well outlive the cable TV market, and eventually migrate entirely to streaming services as time passes. Josh Sapan is a forward-thinking executive, who has transformed AMC into a small lean company who is giving the big guys a run for their money.

Josh Sapan is prepared to lead The Walking Dead with Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus toward a path to independence from the American cable market, by gradually migrating to various streaming services. Sapan is tapping into global markets and offering a very low price to cable subscribers compared to other cable channels in order to reach avid fans who do use cable. Josh Sapan is quoted in Advertising Age.

"Each of our channels is vital. They have real fans. That's not entirely true of the entire spectrum of cable offerings."
Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln as Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes in many ways represent the spirit of AMC. Like Daryl and Rick of The Walking Dead, Josh Sapan is a fighter, and he knows how to think on his feet. Sapan has taken a small cable channel that used to feature black and white re-runs and turned it into one of the most in demand and completely innovative cable companies in existence.


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Could 'The Walking Dead's' Norman Reedus Lead To 'Redneck' Appreciation Through Daryl Dixon? [Opinion]

'The Walking Dead': Why Zombies Are The Problem And Norman Reedus As Daryl Dixon Is The Solution [Opinion]

Is The 'Walking Dead's' Norman Reedus A Hero In Real Life? Is He Awesome Like Daryl Dixon? [Opinion]

Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincoln and the rest of The Walking Dead cast and crew have been a huge part of making AMC what it is today as well. They are currently the flagship show of AMC and pull exemplary ratings, even since the 11 percent decline in season 7A. In many ways, The Walking Dead is the future of AMC.

The Walking Dead with Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln could easily be streaming online for decades to come and outliving pay TV.

[Featured Image by John Sciulli/Getty Images]