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‘The Walking Dead’ Franchise Will Last as Long as ‘Star Trek,’ AMC President Predicts

Josh Sapan also credits Tom Hiddleston-Taylor Swift romance for boosting viewership of ”The Night Manager“

AMC Networks President and CEO Josh Sapan thinks “The Walking Dead” could be around for a long, long time to come.

At Wednesday’s Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, the executive said AMC’s hit zombie drama “has incredible long life left in it,” and could continue to run for “many, many more years.”

“The Walking Dead,” which easily finished last season as the No. 1 rated scripted series, enters Season 7 next month, but Sapan said he could envision the franchise becoming as lasting as long as “Star Trek,” which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

“[‘Star Trek’] came and went three times,” Sapan said. “We do think that we have a franchise [in ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Fear the Walking Dead’] that is one of the rare franchises that you occasionally come across in what we do for a living.”

Sapan also bragged about AMC’s other series, including new entries “Into the Badlands” and “Preacher,” two series he said had “franchise-like qualities.”

“The environment is more cluttered and it is more challenging to be meaningful,” the executive said. “The nice news is that if you look at cable dramas, and you look at the top 10, we have five of them. And that’s a pretty good place to be.”

“The answer to how to do it,” he continued. “I think it is just a careful evaluation of content, and we have a pretty good infrastructure … and increasingly, the ability to command attention and market these shows.”

In some cases, though, Sapan said simple luck helps too. AMC’s Emmy-winning limited series “The Night Manager,” for instance, got a helpful marketing boost from the tabloids.

“We got lucky because just as we were launching it, Tom Hiddleston started dating Taylor Swift,” he said. “That was a nice piece of serendipity.”