AMC can’t stop doling out great news related to The Walking Dead. This morning, the cable network announced that its popular zombie drama is officially coming back for Season 6. If you’ve paid any attention to The Walking Dead’s trajectory over the past several years, you already know that the show is a huge ratings bringer for AMC. As such, I think we all expect it to be on the air for quite some time in the future, but an official renewal order is still a nice way for AMC to show fans how much it is willing to stand behind its series.

The Walking Dead is set to begin airing Season 5 this weekend. Announcing the Season 6 renewal today is a sharp way to remind people to tune in or program their DVRs if they haven’t already. It also should be a nice ego boost for Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and the rest of the gang, who have been working tirelessly on the new season of AMC’s drama. Alternatively, the announcement could have partially been made related to The Walking Dead spinoff series that was announced just a few weeks ago. At TV Blend, we’ve had a few confused readers ask if TWD is ending so that the show can focus on the upcoming spinoff. A Season 6 renewal clearly helps to clarify that The Walking Dead and the upcoming companion series are two separate projects.

Since Season 5 has yet to premiere, we don’t have a ton of details about Season 6 so far. AMC is obviously not going to tell us which actors will be returning, as The Walking Dead often has a super high death count, and the network has not locked down an episode count, yet (although the last several seasons have been 16 episodes, so that is a likely number). We do know that Gimple will return as showrunner and that Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero and Tom Luse will all executive produce Season 6.

The Walking Dead clearly has a long-term trajectory in mind. Kirkman recently spoke out to say this dastardly villain is in the works, although maybe not for quite a few more seasons. Gimple has also spoken out about how easy it would be for The Walking Dead to make it over a decade on television. There are a ton of comic book storylines the show has not even begun to explore, yet, and I wouldn’t be surprised if AMC continued to sign on for early renewals in the future.

After all, The Walking Dead is AMC’s hottest property. The show routinely crushes in the ratings in the 18-49 advertising demographic, and has ranked first for the past two years. The series also has a huge social media presence and is popular among different factions of TV viewers. Obviously, AMC was going to sign on for Season 6. I’m just happy the show did so before the Season 5 premiere.

AMC’s The Walking Dead will begin airing Season 5 on Sunday, October 12 at 9 p.m. ET.

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