AMC Is Splitting Up The Walking Dead's Second Season

There was some good news and a gigantic pile of bad news at AMC today concerning its hit series The Walking Dead. But because I like to put a smile on your face before I completely ruin your mood, we'll start with the good news: The Season 2 premiere will be 90 minutes long! Yipee!

Now for the bad news: The 13-episode second season will be sliced in two like the soft torso of a lumbering, rotting corpse as it meets the fine steel of a katana. The first seven episodes will air over seven consecutive Sundays starting October 16. That will take the series through November 27. Then it goes on break. A long break. Like, a backpacking through Europe break.

The remaining six episodes won't begin airing until February 12. That means December and January will be entirely zombie free. Yikes! I can't stand split seasons. Hate 'em to death. And I can't think of a reason anyone would like them. Especially with a season that's only 13 episodes long in the first place!

Breaks suck. They cost networks marketing dollars, because they essentially force the promotion of two different premieres. They disrupt the flow of the affected series, and with a serialized show like The Walking Dead, that will be extra noticeable. NBC tried a long break during the first season of The Event, and that program never recovered (not that it ever stood a chance). Men of a Certain Age returned for Season 2.5, but no one knew about it and the show was canceled. I suppose AMC could have started The Walking Dead early and finished it by the end of 2012, but the network seems locked on launching the series in October as part of its "Scary Halloween Month" or whatever.

However, before you take out your quill and legal pad to pen an angry letter ("To whom it may concern at AMC, what about my feelings!?"), consider the decision from AMC's side. I reached out to AMC to poke around about why they're choosing to go with a break and not run it straight through, and now I understand. Fact: TV always goes into hibernation in December, because everyone's traveling across country to Grandma's house. Sundays in January belong to football—especially the Super Bowl, which kicks off (literally!) on February 5. Scheduling The Walking Dead against America's number-one obsession would mean crummier ratings, as Sunday Night Football and zombies would overlap on the East Coast. And if I were forced to choose between watching my fantasy football team choke or watching The Walking Dead, I'd catch up with the monsters on my DVR the following day.

But the lengthy break has the potential not just to hurt The Walking Dead and its fans, it could completely derail Hell on Wheels, the new AMC Western that's due to launch Sunday, November 6. If the network applies the same reasoning behind The Walking Dead's break to Hell on Wheels—and it should, unless something fishy is going on—we're looking at four consecutive episodes to introduce us to the series, then the same two-month break, then the final six episodes (presumably paired with The Walking Dead's last six episodes). Splitting up a debut season is a huge risk, and frankly, not a very wise business decision, given that viewers are fickle creatures with short-term memories. A new series needs time to sink its claws into a new audience, and cutting the introductions short is like walking out of a room in the middle of a conversation. (Requests for comment on Hell on Wheels' scheduling from AMC were not returned as of press time.)

The Walking Dead, with its built-in fan base, should weather the two-month-plus break mostly fine, but I'm not sure about Hell on Wheels. What do you think?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Jan 09, 2012
Diehard fans will continue to watch,none the less. Sure, breaking up the season episodes is risky, but in a "weird" way, this could draw more viewers. Promotional anticipattory excitement could lead to a ratings/viewing boost.Assuming the episodes are stellar in execution.Without an excellent dialogue and a few BIG twists it will "go down in flames" like any other cancelled show. Or worse yet, "linger on the vine" long after it's due date.
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Nov 30, 2011
Who cares! This second season BLOWS. I won't be watching this show anymore.

THEY SHOULD HAVE NEVER FIRED THE WRITERS FROM THE FIRST SEASON!!!
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Sep 07, 2011
"viewers are fickle creatures with short-term memories" I remember my first phone #, the first time I caressed the small of a woman's back, and I even remember my first taste of BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!!! Now, if I could just remember where the hell I left the damn car keys..............
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Sep 07, 2011
Well when the shows end the first half of their season, it will be the holiday breaks anyway, then Mad Man returns, and you can bet bottom dollar half of Mad Men's commercials will be promotions for this shows second half. I will still tune in regardless.
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Sep 06, 2011
You're so funny! ;-) I like how to add humor to your thoughts. Lol. Going back to the article... yes, series breaks suck! Period. It happened to Flash Forward too, remember? Gosh, I miss that series. Again, I hate series breaks, I dislike 13-ep series. I go for 24 eps a season! If only all my favorite series run for more than 20 a season... *bow*
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Sep 06, 2011
People... The Walking Dead is like any other show goes thru splits between Seasons. One, is for the Holidays waiting 1 or 2 Months and Two, for Spring Season waiting for a Month. There is nothing wrong in waiting for your favorite programs come back on. Are you people that lazy or what here.
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Sep 06, 2011
So....let me get this straight. The first season was only 6 episode followed by almost a year between seasons 1&2, and now season 2 will further be broken up with a 2 month lag in between. How on earth does that make marketing sense?!?!?
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Sep 05, 2011
To the writer....are you on crack???? Seriously??? So you hate breaks midstream..but that stretches the show out for the WHOLE YEAR(or somewhat) I am a WHO fan that has to wait(they have a mid-season break) and to be honest I would rather it happen this way then wait 4 months or more before seeing the show again. Think of it as a looooooong commercial break ok? its only 2 months or so..hell this is better than the time we had to wait for Boardwalk Empire to come back...
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Sep 06, 2011
You should learn some manners. He is just writing what he feels about it. You don't have to agree or you don't have to be rude.



I truly enjoyed reading this article.
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Sep 04, 2011
AMC screws the pooch again!!! Also, I do think walking dead should start in September like other shows. Not to mention they are starting it halfway into October not even capitalizing on the whole month of spooks and ghouls.
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Sep 05, 2011
It doesn't start in September, nor does it start halfway through October. It starts the first Sunday of October if I'm not mistaken. I see nothing wrong with capitalizing on Hallowe'en... we'll probably see a lot more zombie costumes than usual. Agree they are screwing the pooch again, though, by splitting up the season.
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Sep 06, 2011
@smithinjapan - I do apologize but you are mistaken. It is not only not the first Sunday, but neither is it the second. the 16th is the 3rd Sunday in October, and by math alone one can tell it is the mid point of a 31 day month, thus yes, halfway through. This is just AMC's way of sugarcoating that they are splitting up the season because rather than start it in Sept, and finish it by Hallowe'en, thus not causing a break, they think that putting a break in the middle, followed by another in the summer which will be an additional 4 months (if its renewed for S3) people will come back next year. What I dont understand is why dont all of these half season shows just commit to "summer programming" instead of fall-spring programming. True Blood is 13 episodes, and carries us through most of the summer with new episodes, saving us from rerun hell. More shows should follow suit.
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Sep 04, 2011
I remember as a kid going to my friends' houses or them coming to mine and the excitement leading up to the weekly episode of Dukes of Hazzard. We'd dim the lights or turn them off, parents would usually leave the room, and there would be silence in the extended seconds between final commercial and the show starting. I also remember being devastated when it turned out that week was a rerun (it never used to be announced prior). Back then a break, save at the end of a season, was the exception, not the norm.



Now it seems that broadcasting companies like to pi$$ on their audiences and do as they please; splitting up seasons and taking long breaks, reducing the number of episodes, canceling good shows in favor of bad ones, etc. I can understand the rationale behind doing so in this case, but it's still a kick in the face with a frozen boot. It won't hurt The Walking Dead, ultimately, because the fan base for the show is solid, and despite being peed-off with the split the same people will all gladly tune in in February. Tim is right about the new Western, though -- if the same break is applied to it after a mere introduction they're be a-lynchin' of the show come high-noon.
More+
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Sep 04, 2011
It wasn't the exception. If TV season is roughly between the middle of September and the middle of May, that's generally 36 weeks. Seasons normally run 22 weeks. That leaves, as it always has, 14 weeks during a season that "something else" has to be aired. The only difference is back then there were more specials and tv movies aired (due to the non-existence of consumer VCRs). Nowadays the DVD has killed the epicness of things like a once-a-year airing of The Wizard Of Oz or a children's cartoon special, so you may be seeing more repeats per say, but your shows have the same amount of "filler" as they always have during a regular season.



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Sep 04, 2011
Why don't you go peddle your C**P on some street corner? All of you spammers are pathetic.....
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Sep 03, 2011
I dont really watch football, so personally i find it rather annoying when my favorite shows is on hold because of it!
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Sep 04, 2011
Yeah... we don't want shows with pig skin flying around... we want shows with human skin flying around!!! ;-)
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Sep 03, 2011
good news and hell on wheels sounds great, we shall see
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Sep 03, 2011
You forgot to mention "Jericho" that lost most of its fan momentum due to taking a four plus month break that killed any momentum the show had, but, yeah its a stupid move!
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Sep 03, 2011
Lazy writters
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Sep 03, 2011
AMC is dropping the ball. No bs excuses no sugar coating. They're letting Mad Men get all the money and glory while watering down their other shows which is ridiculous. They're already doing this crap to Breaking Bad which honestly I could have seen going on into at least 6 or 7 seasons but NOOOO bc they wanted their favorite child Mad Men to get all the candy, all their step children suffer. Get your s*** together AMC. If they don't i'm sure we could name a few channels that would snatch The Walking Dead up in a heartbeat.
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Sep 03, 2011
I understand the breaks given to shows with 20+ episodes in a season, but to a show that's only 13 episodes? Add the fact that it's a serial show... and the fact that the plot moves quite slowly... and argh! I can understand their reasoning in regards to winter holidays and the NFL, but it doesn't make it less frustrating.
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Sep 03, 2011
That sux...football?? I could care less!! Just ANOTHER distraction created by the media to divert us from the reality of what's REALLY going on with our world...at least we can watch a few zombies n heroes battling it out....hmmmmmm...wake up sheeple!!
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Sep 04, 2011
So, if a sheep stops watching football and starts watching zombies, what kind of animal will it become?
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Sep 04, 2011
Zombie Sheep?
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Sep 02, 2011
I guess I'm one of the few that doesn't mind split seasons. With show on cable that runs without a break that means there 39 or 40 weeks without a show. By that time I've completely forgotten what had happened. I find it works great on a show like Burn Notice.
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Sep 02, 2011
OH COME ON!!!!
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Sep 02, 2011
This sucks donkeys!! Enough with the 3month+ breaks, save it for when seasons actually end.
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Sep 02, 2011
This annoys the cr*p out of me too, and I'm in the 51st state! Thanks Giving, Christmas and the American Football season are all at the same time EVERY YEAR! Why don't they just change the TV season to end before Thanks Giving with the new season, new shows, starting in Feb. Then all the new show gossip and previews can keep people going in-between travelling, beer and sport? Or am I over-simplifying it?



Anyway, I think this will be a disappointing, and last, season of The Walking Dead, ultimately ruined once again by network/cable execs grossly negligent idiocy.
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Sep 04, 2011
You had me at 51st state.
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Sep 02, 2011
I honestly cannot believe this. I truly believe that AMC is trying to flush the *only series it outright owns* straight into the ground. And while I see their point about the holidays and football-why not change it's airing to a week night during this time? People still have to work, and aside from Mondays and Thanksgiving, I'm not aware of any other televised football games. Or skip weeks, like Christmas, New Year's, and the Super Bowl. I think a full 2 month break is a nail in the coffin-especially for Hell on Wheels.
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Sep 02, 2011
Great article. You expressed my irritation with big season breaks to a 'T', especially the big breaks in a show's first season.
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Sep 02, 2011
"Yikes!" My reaction exactly. I fell that the very point of a short (10-13 episodes) season for any show is that it pushes trough consecutive weeks at a mind-blowing pace. The fact that a short season only lasts for three months, which makes us have to wait for it for nine months, is supposed to be balanced out by it being a stunning entertainment explosion. We are supposed to get it all at once, not in two small portions.
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Sep 02, 2011
2 months is not a huge break if you consider the fact that some shows like the Vampire Diaries were on a break for almost a month last season... The walking dead is such a amazing show and I think it's fans won't stop watching it... with V it was a whole different case since it was pretty boring and only the season finale was worth watching
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Sep 02, 2011
Since we all know that Frank was fired I am sure some of you are still a little it steamed about this, and some of you have come to terms with the shows loss.... However there could still be hope to keep the best Zombie exuberance alive... If you go to my petition and sign it, we can get AMC to hire Frank back. You should have a spam email to give them (the petition site even though I don't get spam from them it's still a precaution)

Link is: http://www.change.org/petitions/dont-kill-the-zombies

Goal is: Get Frank back on the shooting site and keep the show well funded



P.S. I can't do this alone!
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Sep 03, 2011
If I'm not mistaken he was fired because he didn't like that AMC was slashing the budget in favor of Mad Men. I truly doubt he'll come back unless they're willing to give his show the respect it deserves. Don't get me wrong I want him back but this isn't on us. We should be signing petitions to get AMC to stop flooding its resources into one that that isn't even its best show.
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Sep 02, 2011
Best and worst news ever.
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Sep 02, 2011
I'm not going to grandma's house, and I don't give a flying f**k about football. I hate not having anything good to watch during these "breaks".
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Sep 02, 2011
I get it when network shows with 22+ eps go on break for 2 months but it's idiotic when a show with 13 eps does it. I'm really starting to wonder how AMC lucked out on getting Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead when the network is obviously run by morons.
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Sep 02, 2011
What I want to know is if AMC will be having all of season one showing prior to the opening of the new season? I don't mean as a mega-marathon but showing them spread out by a few weeks.
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Sep 02, 2011
If...big "if"...Hell on Wheels does continue through the break, it may be a ploy to see if it can stand on its own two cowboy-boot-clad feet. Use a loyal Walking Dead fan base to piggyback the first few episodes and then see if interest will continue through the zombie-free break. "While you're waiting for Walking Dead, watch Hell on Wheels." We'll see how their scheduling ultimately plays out.
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Sep 02, 2011
I know from experience with SyFy that networks like to break up seasons to turn around and sell them as broken seasons, Eureka Season 3.5 anyone...
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Sep 02, 2011
Yeah, it is going to cost a lot to buy every season of Eureka that way. For a broke TV fan like me, that means it will take a long time for me to complete the collection.
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Sep 02, 2011
This scheduling break is the worst television news since Breaking Bad announced it's fourth season premier would be in July instead of March. Why does AMC insist on torturing us loyal fans?
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Sep 02, 2011
90 min...yeah!!!! A split season?? NOOOOO!
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Sep 02, 2011
cable networks have some of the best shows on TV, why do they insist on having the worst scheduling on TV to counteract it? ugh
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