Norman Reedus on ‘The Walking Dead’ Without Andrew Lincoln: ‘He’s With Me Every Day’

Read on: Variety.

After saying goodbye to most of the original cast on “The Walking Dead,” Norman Reedus still feels his former co-stars with him during each episode. “I’ve seen so many people come and go,” he said during a “Walking Dead&#8…

‘Walking Dead’ Star Norman Reedus Explains The “Chip On His Shoulder” – Paley Fest

Read on: Deadline.

The ninth season of The Walking Dead has been a tumultuous and unsettling one in many ways (especially with the loss of Andrew Lincoln and fellow lead Lauren Cohan early on) but the show’s six-year time jump and its tonal shift (to hew closer to …

‘Deadly Class’ Co-Creator Talks Tonight’s Bloody Finale, Lana Condor & Season 2

Read on: Deadline.

SPOILER ALERT:  This post contains details of tonight’s Deadly Class Season 1 finale.
“You know, I always joke that if we don’t get a Season 2 that this’ll be like Freaks and Geeks,” says Deadly Class executive producer Rick Remender as the Syfy series…

‘Walking Dead’: We Need to Talk About Jocelyn and Michonne

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoilers ahead for the March 17 episode of “The Walking Dead”)

“The Walking Dead” has not generally spent much time exploring what happened during the six-year time jump that occurred in the first half of this season. I assumed, generally, that we were meant to think that it was relatively uneventful. Aside, of course, from Maggie (Lauren Cohan) leaving Hilltop to go hang out with Georgie (Jayne Atkinson).

But it turned out there was at least one pretty significant event that took place fairly early on in that time period we skipped over, and that incident is the reason why Michonne (Danai Gurira) has been a bit more harsh and cautious than she had been before. Michonne had a nearly catastrophic run-in with an old friend named Jocelyn (Rutina Wesley) while she was pregnant that changed her.

That story was detailed in this week’s episode, which was split between the present narrative and the past. It’s a pretty “Lost”-esque way of fleshing out who Michonne is now, making this episode squarely focused on developing her character over progressing the main plot — the war with the Whisperers didn’t move very far this week.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

Interestingly enough, the character of Jocelyn is original to the show and is not someone who Michonne has mentioned before. She’s not a loose interpretation of a comics character repurposed for this arc. She, and this story, are brand new. It’s a fascinating addition, given what we know about the changes the show already made to Michonne’s story from the comics and the fact that we know she’ll be leaving “The Walking Dead” next year.

Let’s talk about who Jocelyn is for a second. She simply showed up one day at Alexandria, severely injured and babbling about other survivors she needed to save. The Alexandrians take on that rescue duty while Jocelyn recovers, and it turns out that she had been shepherding a bunch of children.

Adding a compelling layer to this story is that Jocelyn was a friend of Michonne’s from college, and thus was someone Michonne felt pretty strongly she could trust. But that didn’t last long. After Jocelyn recovered she would hold sleepovers for the other kids who lived in Alexandria, and one night they stole a bunch of food and sneaked out of town — with the Alexandrian kids, including Judith Grimes.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Daryl’s Big Move Takes the Whisperer War In A Very Different Direction From the Comics

The situation ended very poorly, with a pregnant Michonne and Daryl (Norman Reedus) mounting a rescue that ended with Michonne having to kill all the older children under Jocelyn’s care. It turned out that Jocelyn was indoctrinating the kids in a philosophy that was actually pretty similar to that of the Whisperers — you gotta be strong and not soft, trust no one, etc. And the kids worshiped Jocelyn in a very cult-like fashion. But Michonne managed to rescue Judith and the other kids from Alexandria, and also took in some of Jocelyn’s kids. But from then on she was significantly more wary about accepting outsiders, as we’ve seen many times this season since the time skip.

The changes to Michonne’s backstory on “The Walking Dead” show have been largely incidental thus far — she only had one son, instead of two daughters, and that son is very much dead when she first appeared on the show. In the comics, one of Michonne’s daughters ended up at a place the Commonwealth, which is a major plot thread in the next big storyline from the books after the Whisperer War.

Absent that major thread, Michonne sort of naturally becomes expendable in the near term, and this new wrinkle to her personal arc makes her vulnerable because she’s sort of echoing the Rick’s arc before his exit from “The Walking Dead.” A harsh, life-altering situation hardened them before he tried to change for the better — but it was clear that after the war with the Saviors Rick’s worldview did not quite fit with how things really were, and that’s why he knew he had to sacrifice himself.

Also Read: AMC Operating Chief: Third ‘Walking Dead’ Series in ‘Active Development,’ No Premiere Plans Yet

Michonne has always been a character that carried a particularly large amount of baggage, with the death of her three-year-old son in the early days of the apocalypse. That detail in particular makes this new story strike a nerve all the more. It appears by the end of this episode that Judith has softened Michonne’s heart a bit, but this story feeds into the instincts that she’s had all along — that she can’t trust anyone and that she has to handle everything herself. With Rick she was able to share the burden a bit, but he’s long gone now. It’s not hard to imagine Michonne reaching her breaking point sooner than later, especially if the creative powers-that-be behind “The Walking Dead” are choosing this moment to reveal this key plot detail.

With her baggage both from the death of her first son and from this incident with Jocelyn, Michonne feels like she’s headed for a similar situation Rick faced — where she finally feels like she knows what direction she and the people in her charge should take but the reality doesn’t really line up.

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‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

‘Walking Dead’: Daryl’s Big Move Takes the Whisperer War In A Very Different Direction From the Comics

AMC Operating Chief: Third ‘Walking Dead’ Series in ‘Active Development,’ No Premiere Plans Yet

Danai Gurira to Exit ‘The Walking Dead’ After Season 10

‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Copyright Suit Settled Ahead Of Season 5 Debut

Read on: Deadline.

Less than two months after AMC and Fear The Walking Dead producers were burned in their desire to see Melvin Smith’s copyright lawsuit dismissed, both sides have struck a deal.
“Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41, Plaintiff Melvin Wil…

‘Walking Dead’: Daryl’s Big Move Takes the Whisperer War In A Very Different Direction From the Comics

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Spoilers ahead for the March 3 episode of “The Walking Dead” on AMC)

We’re really only a few episodes into the TV show version of the Whisperer War on “The Walking Dead,” and thus far it’s gone largely according to the way the story was laid out in the comic book course material.

There are, obviously, some major differences in personnel with Carl dead and Rick out of the picture thanks to that helicopter, but showrunner Angela Kang and the writers have deftly swapped other characters into those roles. In particular, Henry has stepped into Carl’s shoes and assumed almost exactly Carl’s role in this story.

But if the ending of this week’s episode is anything to go by, the days of the show following the template set by the comics for this whole Whisperers thing are over, with Daryl (Norman Reedus) taking the story in what feels like a new direction.

Also Read: Looks Like ‘Walking Dead’ Is Replacing Carl With Henry for the Whisperers Story

But Daryl’s move was just one of a few bits from this episode that seems to indicate a big upheaval int he storyline could be on the way. Obviously I don’t know what the rest of the season holds, but since the war with the Saviors went very different on the show than it did in the comics, it stands to reason that they’ll continue to stray from the established path now to keep things interesting.

Anyway, let’s get into the details a little bit. In the comics, Carl befriended Lydia and then followed her back to the Whisperer camp, where he was captured and had a few big ideological debates with Alpha about the Whisperers’ troubling philosophy. And Carl was held captive for a while, until Rick found out he was missing and tracked down the Whisperers himself and got into a few ideological debates of his own with Alpha as they discussed how they might settle this budding conflict peacefully. Eventually Alpha lets Rick and Carl leave, and orders them to take Lydia with them because Alpha decides she no longer fits with the Whisperers.

On the show this week we skipped pretty much all of that. Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Henry barely talk to each other, and Henry’s captivity is ended when Daryl and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) use the Whisperers’ own tricks against them by leading a heard of zombies into their camp and pull Henry and Lydia out. This is the sort of development that could just be a shortcut through a slow part of the plot, but I don’t think so. Lydia leaving the Whisperers this way — by escaping rather than being banished — is a huge shift that could have major ramifications.

Also Read: ‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

In particular, Rick’s meeting with Alpha leads to a sort of informal ceasefire between the communities and the Whisperers — a “you stay out of our territory and we’ll stay out of yours” handshake agreement. And that holds until  a newly free Negan — freed by a character who is already dead on the show — murders Alpha and causes Beta to declare war.

But there’s no way there will be any kind of immediate peace after Daryl and Connie attacked the Whisperer camp, and Alpha is likely to want to get Lydia back again. Instead of having a bit of a lull before this new war really gets going, it looks more like it’s about to get going right now.

I can’t help but wonder if this means that the Whisperer War could actually wrap up this season instead of being drawn out the way the war with the Saviors was. Though with only four episodes left in the season it feels like it could be a tall talk to bring this story to its conclusion that quickly. But we’ll see soon enough, I guess.

Related stories from TheWrap:

AMC Operating Chief: Third ‘Walking Dead’ Series in ‘Active Development,’ No Premiere Plans Yet

‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

Looks Like ‘Walking Dead’ Is Replacing Carl With Henry for the Whisperers Story

New ‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff In The Works, AMC Executives Confirm

Read on: Deadline.

A new spinoff of The Walking Dead is in the works, AMC Networks confirmed during its quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts.
Asked to elaborate on CEO Josh Sapan’s mention of a third zombie outing, COO Ed Carroll said the spinoff is in…

AMC Operating Chief: Third ‘Walking Dead’ Series in ‘Active Development,’ No Premiere Plans Yet

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

AMC executives gave us a very slight update Thursday on the latest “Walking Dead” spinoff, which should become the third series in Scott M. Gimple’s TV universe. Still, it’s one that may satiate rabid fans of the franchise.

“That is in active development,” Ed Carroll, chief operating officer, AMC Networks said. “We’re not yet at a stage where we’ll be announcing its plans to premiere. But we have hired creative people that have pitched story outlines. We feel very good about the development of that series.”

Carroll’s comments came during his company’s fourth-quarter 2018 conference call with media analysts and reporters.

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Drops to All-Time Low in Ratings and Viewers

Much of Carroll’s and CEO Josh Sapan’s remarks on the call were intended to add some perspective to dwindling Nielsen ratings for Season 9 of “The Walking Dead.” Though the series is way down from its heyday and recently hit an all-time low in both the key adults 18-49 demographic and in total viewers, executives there are quick to point out that it’s still cable’s top drama and No. 2 on all of TV this season to NBC’s “This Is Us.”

Find AMC’s actual Q4 financial results here. Of some interest, U.S. advertising revenue grew a bit as higher prices helped offset lower ratings, including at flagship series “The Walking Dead.”

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‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

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AMC Networks Beats Q4 Earnings Mark, Records $43 Million Restructuring Expense

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

AMC Networks had a better fourth quarter of 2018 than most people expected — from a financial perspective, at least. The home to AMC, BBC America, IFC and more channels topped media analyst forecasts at both its top and bottom lines.

Wall Street predicted earnings per share (EPS) would come in at $1.84 on $757.58 million in revenue, per a consensus forecast compiled by Yahoo Finance. AMC actually reported adjusted EPS of $1.92 on $773 million in revenue.

Though revenues slipped at the U.S. networks, ad sales actually ticked up 1.4 percent versus the comparable quarter last year, as higher prices more than offset lower ratings for “The Walking Dead” and other key shows.

Also Read: ‘The Walking Dead’ Drops to All-Time Low in Ratings and Viewers

Domestically, thanks to some accounting adjustments, AMC was able to report that its recognized operating income rose 7.3 percent. That positive momentum can be credited to lower programming expenses.

Beyond our borders, revenues soared 48.6 percent from Q4 2017 thanks to AMC’s 2018 acquisitions of Levity and RLJ Entertainment. The added revenue there comes with some added operating expenses, of course.

Some of the good here was dampened by a restructuring at AMC Networks. The company recognized $43 million of its $46 million 2018 restructuring costs in the fourth quarter.

Also Read: ‘Killing Eve’ Season 2: Villanelle and Eve Go Crazy for Each Other in New Trailer (Video)

“AMC Networks had a strong fourth quarter and a very successful 2018,” President and CEO Josh Sapan said in a prepared statement accompanying his company’s financials. “If there’s one headline for the year, it’s that AMC Networks continues to be a company that punches above its weight on almost every count, with a long history of having outsized impact and influence among our most important constituents, all to the benefit of our shareholders. We continue to have great success with our content, including BBC America’s ‘Killing Eve,’ which emerged as the sleeper hit of 2018; and we ended the year with AMC having 3 of the top 6 dramas on basic cable. Our quality content is the key driver behind our expanding distribution across linear and other platforms. In addition, the strength of our balance sheet allows us to continue to pursue smart and strategic investments that are changing our business, including our acquisition last year of RLJ Entertainment, which includes the Acorn TV streaming service, and is meaningfully advancing our direct to consumer interests, a key priority as we continue to diversify our revenue and grow our business.”

Shares of AMC stock (AMCX) closed at $63.58 on Wednesday, up $1.13 apiece. The U.S. stock markets will reopen their regular trading days at 9:30 a.m. ET.

AMC Networks executives will host a conference call for media analysts and reporters to discuss the quarter and full year in greater detail at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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‘The Walking Dead’ Drops to All-Time Low in Ratings and Viewers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“The Walking Dead” definitely isn’t dead, but it is at an all-time low.

Sunday’s episode, titled “Omega,” averaged a 1.7 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, down 15 percent from the prior week’s midseason premiere and slightly below its previous all-time demo low of 1.8 last fall.

This week also marked the show’s worst-ever performance in total viewers with 4.54 million people tuned in for Sunday’s episode. That’s down 12 percent from last week and less than the previous low of 4.71 million for the show’s second episode in 2010.

Also Read: Danai Gurira to Exit ‘The Walking Dead’ After Season 10

The episode aired against the NBC All-Star Game on TNT and TBS, likely accounting for the week-over-week declines.

The aging series has seen steep ratings declines across the past few years, with viewership numbers for Season 9 coming in well below the previous season. And moving forward, the show will also have to contend with the loss of several key on-screen players, including series stars Andrew Lincoln and Maggie Cohen, both of whom exited earlier this season. Longtime series regular Danai Gurira is set to follow suit next year.

However, despite the downward trend — which is more or less in line with across-the-board cable ratings declines in recent years — the once-massively popular zombie drama remains the most-watched non-sports program on cable and has already been picked up for a 10th season to air in the fall.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Walking Dead’: Are We Going to See Maggie Again This Season – or Ever?

Looks Like ‘Walking Dead’ Is Replacing Carl With Henry for the Whisperers Story

Danai Gurira to Exit ‘The Walking Dead’ After Season 10

‘Walking Dead’ Ratings Suffer A Deep Bite To New Series Low Against NBA

Read on: Deadline.

Perhaps we can bass the ball and put the blame and the glory on LeBron James, but The Walking Dead took a record beating this weekend at the hands of the NBA.

As the L.A. Laker superstar-led Team LeBron scored a 178 – 164 win over Team Giannis i…

Grammy Ratings Steady With 2018 In Early Results For Music’s Biggest Night

Read on: Deadline.

Michelle Obama kicked things off last night at the 61st Grammy Awards after some “Havana” sizzle, then Lady Gaga continued her Taylor Swift shocked victory look tour and Ariana Grande won, but very clearly wasn’t in the house.
Additio…