With "The Killing" newly deceased, "Low Winter Sun" nearly dead on arrival, "Breaking Bad" two episodes from ending and "Mad Men" likely only one season from wrapping, AMC made the world's least shocking announcement on Monday (September 16) morning: The network is beginning development on what is described as a "companion series" to "The Walking Dead."
 
AMC is shying away from calling the in-development project a "spinoff" and the network is also avoiding a rush-to-air, saying that the companion series isn't expected to premiere until 2015.
 
Keeping continuity for the companion series, AMC announced that "Walking Dead" comic creator Robert Kirkman and series executive producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert will all serve as executive producers.
 
Quotes from those involved give some indication of what audiences can expect from the companion series, which is still in its initial stages.
 
"Building on the success of the most popular show on television for adults 18-49 is literally a no-brainer," blurbs Charlie Collier, AMC’s president and general manager. "We look forward to working with Robert, Gale and Dave again as we develop an entirely new story and cast of characters. It’s a big world and we can’t wait to give fans another unforgettable view of the zombie apocalypse."
 
Adds Kirkman, "After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn't be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of 'The Walking Dead' universe. The opportunity to make a show that isn't tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing."
 
As the opening paragraph of this story indicates, AMC is in something of a transitional mode. Its two Emmy-winning landmark shows are in their home stretches and while "Hell on Wheels" has been a surprisingly solid performer on Saturday nights this summer, it's hardly a building block. AMC has already ordered the dramas "Halt & Catch Fire" and "Turn" for 2014 premieres, while the loss of "Breaking Bad" could be lessened with the potential spinoff prequel "Better Call Saul."
 
That leaves "The Walking Dead," which ranked as the top show on all of TV among adults 18-49 for last season.
 
The next "Walking Dead" season will premiere on AMC on October 13.