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It's no secret that The Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows on television. The long running apocalyptic drama consistently brings in massive numbers for AMC, and its spinoff Fear The Walking Dead has helped cement the property's importance on the network. Everyone involved doesn't seem to think the series will be ending in the foreseeable future, so it should come as no surprise that AMC renewed The Walking Dead for Season 9. While this news isn't exactly shocking, there will be a major mixup behind the scenes, as Scott M. Gimple will no longer serve as the showrunner.
Scott M. Gimple is hardly being fired by The Walking Dead-- quite the opposite. Instead, he's been promoted to chief content officer of the franchise as a whole. This is a massive new job, as it will include both series, marketing, merchandise, video games, and so on. According to THR, Gimple is being replaced by Angela Kang for Season 9, who will take over a showrunner. Kang has been involved with TWD since 2011, as both a writer and executive producer.
This mixup shows just how far reaching The Walking Dead has become as a brand. Rather than simply crafting a series of new episodes, there is a multitude of other decisions to be made about the franchise, which will become Scott M. Gimple's primary responsibility. As such, he'll likely be less involved in the writing and narrative of the flagship series.
The Walking Dead's latest renewal and shift of administration proves that the show isn't going anywhere. AMC's CEO recently confirmed this, claiming TWD could go indefinitely. Both the flagship series and Fear The Walking Dead have been working hard to drum up audience excitement this late into the game. A crossover event between the two shows is finally happening, something that was deemed all but impossible when Fear first started on the air. They're no doubt hoping big twists like that will help keep the OG fans invested, who have already been watching all the zombie goodness for eight years.
Of course, The Walking Dead has seen a dip in viewership in the past two seasons. While this is partly due to the bevy of fantastic programming available nowadays, the show's issues with pacing can also be cited as a common gripe. Capsule episodes infuriated the fans in Season 7, and this year's All Out War against Negan was surprisingly dull. Yet droves of fans still tune in every Sunday, preparing to have their hearts ripped out with another shocking character death.