The Walking Dead has a been a cash cow for AMC since 2010, and fans can't get enough of the show that made zombies a cottage industry for the network. The program is so popular, it spawned a companion series, Fear the Walking Dead, and a review show about its episodes, The Talking Dead.
Despite its up and down storylines and some reviewers who call it an overrated TV show, The Walking Dead has countless people tuning in each Sunday to see what shocking events will take place next.
The Walking Dead has seen as much drama behind-the-scenes as what goes down in front of the camera in its tragic, eerie, and often violent universe. There's been a revolving door of cast and crew members over the years, lawsuits, arrests, and even the death of a stuntman, making the show's production as nightmarish and troublesome as a world with flesh-hungry walkers would be.
William Riggs, father of Chandler (who played Carl), concurs with the fans’ allegations against showrunner Scott Gimple, as he also believes Chandler was unfairly fired. He posted to Facebook about the incident, saying his son was slated to be on the show for three years according to what Gimple had told him during an April 2018 phone call.
By June of the same year, Chandler and his parents were called into the Walking Dead production offices only to find out he was being let go by Gimple. William said, "Chandler was absolutely devastated. I was disappointed Scott had been dishonest with a 17-year-old making life decisions and waited to tell us.”
In July 2017, stuntman John Bernecker fell to his death while performing a stunt with actor Austin Amelio during the filming of Season 8. In one scene, Amelio’s character was to push Bernecker from the balcony. The scene had not been rehearsed and Bernecker fell short of the padding below during the stunt. He later expired from his injuries.
Bernecker’s family sued the production, blaming AMC's budget cuts for his death. Their filing says, “The production of Season 8 of The Walking Dead, like seasons before it, had an emphasis on keeping production budgets low and profits high… the AMC Defendants are each independently responsible for the failure of The Walking Dead production to take reasonable safety precautions to protect its performer, John Bernecker."
The Walking Dead saw its lowest overall ratings in Season 9, with October 2018's premiere its lowest-rated show since 2011. Viewers were upset after the deaths of some major characters in Season 8, including that of Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs).
The move, a significant departure from the graphic novels on which the show is based, did not sit well with fans. Actor Andrew Lincoln who plays Rick Grimes (Carl’s father) also announced his departure from the show after Season 9 to spend more time with his family.
Without the Grimes’ storyline, viewers started to tune out in droves.
AMC wanted to slash The Walking Dead's budget from $3.4 million to $2.75 million in Season 2 and wanted twice the number of episodes - 13 after the previous season's six. AMC also demanded the 30% per episode tax credit the show received from the state of Georgia while filming there.
Even that wasn't enough to make the show cheaper for AMC. The network suggested half the shooting schedule for each episode should take place indoors to save on location fees and the zombies should be heard from and not seen quite as much to save money on makeup.