Zombies Take a Bite Out of Cable Ratings

With the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead – which premiered last Halloween to record-setting ratings – the very face of television is changing; decaying, if you will, but not necessarily in a bad way. Now, it seems other networks are jumping on the bandwagon and featuring original programming in the previously, somewhat unexplored horror genre. But what is it about shows like The Walking Dead and FX’s own twist on things that go bump in the night (American Horror Story) that has viewers (primarily the 18 – 49 demographic) tuning in every week, only be scared straight out of their pants? In an interview with AdWeek’s Anthony Crupi, Charlie Collier (President and General Manager at AMC) offers his insight on the phenomenon.  “You get all the escapism of a post-apocalyptic world,” he says, “but you also get the character drama that we’ve been delivering since we launched Mad Men.

So, what does this surge in undead TV mean for advertisers? “Naturally, the network is careful about placement,” Crupi explains, “you won’t see any adjacencies between food ads and some of Dead’s more gut-churning moments.”

Personally, as a long-time fan of all things ­Walking Dead (from the original graphic novels, to the television show, and the recently released full-length novels), I couldn’t have been more thrilled when the show returned earlier this month, or with AMC’s decision to renew it for a third season. However, as someone who hasn’t paid for cable in nearly a year, I would be interested to see what type of commercials they have been showing during the program. I’m sure, so long as the media planners at AMC keep their collective heads on straight, they won’t run into any issues. And hopefully, that will bring about a long a fruitful run for the series which, as fans will agree, has plenty to offer.

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