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If you were hoping today would bring news that would make you feel like a foreknowledge-bearing prophet, this is the story for you. Even though we’re only three episodes into Season 6 of The Walking Dead, AMC has already laid out its plans for Sundays in Fall 2016-Winter 2017, and the network has understandably decided to renew the zombie drama for Season 7. And Talking Dead? That got renewed, too.

It’s no coincidence that this renewal is coming now, as last Sunday’s episode “Thank You” was both a ratings monster and one of the most talked-about episodes in the series’ history. When the Live+3 numbers were measured, Episode 3 was revealed to be watched by 18.2 million people, with around 12 million of those fitting into the 18-49 demographic, and both of those results were right around 40% increases from the live viewing results. The word of mouth on this one was strong indeed, and there is no shortage of comic material to keep fans talking for another season. Or plenty of seasons, really.

And why was that last episode so controversial? Without getting into spoilers, it’s safe to say it dealt out quite a bit of death among the Alexandria community, although it was the two in the last act that really had people in an uproar. Or wait, was it just one? The fact that the show’s creative team is still avoiding giving any concrete answers about what actually happened is just fueling the conversational fire, and even if some of it is negative talk, this is exactly the kind of popularity every show on TV wants to have.

AMC’s president Charlie Collier has a good sense of humor about how popular his show is, as well, and his announcement jokes about how the decision to renew The Walking Dead was made.
Thank goodness someone had a Magic 8-Ball with them in our many long internal meetings about these renewals. When, on the third shake, ‘Without a Doubt’ filled the murky blue screen, we knew we had to proceed with new seasons of The Walking Dead and Talking Dead.

I’m trying to think of what would get AMC to cancel The Walking Dead before it tells all of the stories that Robert Kirkman is still laying out in the comic series. Perhaps if all of the actors just suddenly had a wizard’s spell placed on them that made them unable to act in the show. Or if there were simply no more characters to kill. Or maybe if the government outlawed zombie fiction. Otherwise, we’ll presumably be watching this show for many more years to come.

While we won’t be seeing Season 7 of The Walking Dead until October 2016, there’s still a ton of Season 6 still left to come, and Sunday night’s episode will take us back into the past to see why Morgan is the way he is now.