'Fear the Walking Dead' Renewed for Third Season

Fear the Walking Dead - H 2016
Courtesy of Richard Foreman Jr./AMC

AMC is not worried about Fear the Walking Dead.

The cable network has renewed the prequel zombie drama for a third season, days after its sophomore debut. What's more: The third season will mark its largest to date and consist of 16 episodes — up one from season two and 10 more than its freshman order. Season three will premiere in 2017. Also returning is Chris Hardwick-hosted companion Talking Dead: Fear.

The renewal comes as little surprise. The drama, created by Walking Dead mastermind Robert Kirkman and showrunner Dave Erickson, returned for season two on par with its rookie finale. When factoring in three days of DVR, the opener delivered 8.8 million total viewers, including 5.3 million among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic. That ranks as the No. 2 cable show on TV this season, behind only flagship The Walking Dead. It's also the No. 7 series on all of TV in the demo.

“What Dave Erickson and Robert Kirkman have invented in Fear the Walking Dead is to be applauded," AMC president Charlie Collier said Friday in making the renewal announcement. "Watching Los Angeles crumble through the eyes of our characters and seeing each make decisions and try to figure out the rules of their new world — it’s fresh, eerie and compelling and we’re all in for the ride. As Victor Strand observed, ‘The only way to survive a mad world is to embrace the madness.’ We thank the millions of fans for embracing this mad world and look forward to sailing far into the future."

With the renewal, AMC will continue to have a zombie drama in every quarter of the year — key to the network's overall growth. For Kirkman, Fear comes as the comic book guru has marked a major expansion into the small screen. Kirkman, who has an overall deal for TV with AMC (and one for film with Universal), next has Cinemax's Outcast due this year. Like The Walking Dead, that is based on his comic book of the same name. He continues to have multiple other projects in development across cable, including comic Thief of Thieves at AMC.

Starring Kim Dickens and Cliff Curtis, Fear the Walking Dead is a key part of AMC's scripted offerings that also include Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, Into the Badlands, Hell on Wheels, Turn, Halt and Catch Fire and Humans, as well as the upcoming Preacher, The Son and Feed the Beast.