AMC's Ratings Problems Are Going To Cost A Lot Of People Their Jobs

AMC is home of one of the biggest shows on television with the juggernaut zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, ratings for Season 6 weren't quite as solid as in seasons past, and the network hasn't been able to produce a show that has brought in nearly as sizable an audience as The Walking Dead to compensate. AMC has a problem that is going to force some cuts in day-to-day operations. Unfortunately for the employees of AMC, some of their jobs are going to be among the first budget cuts.

AMC is looking to terminate about 200 jobs via buyouts to make up for the current network losses brought about by low ratings, according to Deadline. Those 200 staffers amount to approximately 6% of the workforce currently employed at AMC. No specific divisions within AMC have been targeted with the option. The buyout is currently voluntary for any employees who might want to jump ship before being marched off the gangplank, so to speak. AMC has not yet confirmed the size of the buyout for the staffers who have been employed at the network for ten years or more.

Staffers definitely have reason to jump ship if the buyout option is good and they have other employment opportunities on the horizon. AMC's problems have been accumulating for a while, and they can't possibly be resolved any time soon, even if another series suddenly rockets its ratings up to Walking Dead-esque numbers. The stock price for AMC has dropped almost 24% in 2016, which contributed to the 33% drop over the past twelve months.

Despite all the headlines and buzz and excitement that came with Season 6 of The Walking Dead, numbers were consistently disappointing when compared with earlier numbers. Fewer people watched the Season 6 premiere live, although post-live ratings did bolster the original tally. The huge Season 6 finale drew in an impressive 14.2 million viewers, but 14.2 million was still an alarming drop from the 15.8 million who caught the Season 5 finale live. AMC's top performer just isn't performing well enough to carry the whole network.

The other major shows in the AMC lineup haven't drawn high enough ratings to pick up the Walking Dead slack. Spinoff Fear the Walking Dead has never had as massive an audience as its parent show, and the critically-acclaimed Better Call Saul didn't pull in as big an audience in its second season. Both have been renewed for third seasons, and AMC has enough faith in new series Preacher to order a second season.

Hopefully AMC finds a way to remedy its ratings problem sooner rather than later for the sake of its staffers. It's unlikely that a fix could happen in time to save all of the 200 jobs that are currently on the line. Still, Season 7 of The Walking Dead looks like it could be mixing things up enough to perhaps bring back some of the viewers that have stopped tuning in for Season 6. Only time will tell what will happen next at the network, even if another Walking Dead-sized hit doesn't work out.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).