AMC’s post-apocalyptic show will continue to walk into 2020. The basic cable network has renewed The Walking Dead for a 10th season. Showrunner Angela Kang announced Monday in a video on her verified Instagram feed, and the news comes amid a wave of changes in the current ninth season which returns for its second half on Sunday.
The series featured the departure of the series lead Andrew Lincoln, whose character was off — for the time being — into a new franchise-building world consisting of three feature-length made for TV movies likely airing on AMC — exclusively. Kang will continue as showrunner for season 10, with Norman Reedus becoming the new no. 1 on the call sheet. And thanks to the “franchise/universe” deals that co-star Melissa McBride inked alongside Lincoln and Reedus in which even if the characters are to be written off the flagship series and relocated to another property, they will continue to be paid regardless.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, sources say that Reedus — along with hosting the unscripted motorcycle series Ride With Norman Reedus on AMC — will make $350,000 per episode on top of additional guarantees and advances in a deal that could be worth anywhere from $50 million to $90 million. McBride’s contract will see the actress score an estimated $20 million over three years, and Danai Gurira — in addition to her big money from the overtly financially successful and now Oscar-nominated Black Panther — is in prolonged negotiations with AMC.
“She has been very vocal about saying that she loves the show. We love Danai; we love that character. Right now, she’s got a lot of opportunities and she needs to weigh what she feels is best for her. But we certainly would want her on the show as long as she wants to be on it,” said David Madden, AMC’s programming president. “We really want her to stay. She is an incredibly valuable character and I’m really hoping she stays. Obviously, the lesson of Andy is that the show can survive anybody’s departure if need be but that’s not our goal. The goal is to have Danai continue on whatever basis she can make work, given the other things that she has going on in her life.”
The new pacts are groundbreaking in that they stretch beyond the traditional series/overall deals and allow both Reedus and McBride to move freely between new projects if they are approached with the opportunity while potentially making $8,500 per episode amidst season two. It is an exciting deal that could possibly affect other actors going forward in a dominating TV landscape. Knowing that the deal would only play in effect to the more successful series, studios like Marvel and the Disney+ streaming service may lead to more deals like this for their actors sharing time between feature-length films and Television series — presumably.
AMC programming president David Madden told The Hollywood Reporter in November: “We do look at this as a universe where we’re trying to expand into as many different places as the show fits. We think this is a franchise that could live across formats. So we want to do it carefully; we want to be strategic; we want to try to do it right. But there is a multiyear plan that could include additional series, digital content and specials.”
When asked about how much longer she envisions herself on The Walking Dead, Gurira stopped short of providing a timeframe. “I can’t share that at this moment,” she told The Hollywood Reporter at the season nine premiere in late September.