AMC Networks CEO Says He Sees No End to 'Walking Dead'

The Walking Dead Season 3 Finale - H 2013
Courtesy of AMC

At the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, Josh Sapan saw Netflix's jump to original programming as more competition for AMC Networks.

AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan said Wednesday that Breaking Bad, which ends its run next year, and Mad Men, which ends the year after that, are a couple of the best shows in the history of television, and that he sees no end in sight to The Walking Dead.

“We’ll all suffer from some minor heartbreak when these shows come to a natural close,” Sapan said at the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference.

“Like some of the best shows in history, there will be a mantle that exists sort of virtually in people’s minds, and in the world maybe they’ll actually put a statue somewhere,” he said of the two shows. “We will bring them to a close with the people who created them at the right time.”

Walking Dead, on the other hand, is in just its third season and has a lot more to go.

“We hope that zombies live forever, and we’ve just begun to find out what the post-apocalyptic world is like,” said Sapan, “so that we’ll be sitting here at the Barclays conference in 2022 discussing the fact that Walking Dead is not over … at that point, I think any one of the companies will have replaced the United States government and we’ll be in a complete free enterprise world in which there are no nations.”

Sapan also lamented to a small degree that Netflix has been successful with its original programming, thus providing more competition for AMC.

“I think House of Cards, first out of the gate, was in all understanding pretty good. So, I’m not so sure that it’s necessarily, pointedly itself helpful to us,” he said. “Now they’re producing logically for themselves, so I don’t think in isolation is a great thing for us because we’re a seller. So if they’re producing for themselves, arguably they’re satisfying some appetite by their own hand.”

Sapan also took a few moments to defend the cable TV tradition of bundling channels as oppose to offering them a la carte.

“It has given birth and sustained this incredible diversity of content option, as a consequence of the bundle, both in terms of news and on the political front, three channels of CSPAN, great diversity in editorial content and minority oriented programming -- it’s just an interesting thing not to lose sight of,” he said.