Soft ratings on The Walking Dead Season 8 have raised questions of the series’ longevity, and we at last have an answer. The flagship AMC drama will return for a ninth season with (most of) its cast intact, though Angela Yang will take over for Scott Gimple as showrunner.

The Hollywood Reporter first confirmed that AMC would renew The Walking Dead for Season 9, as well that ranking showrunner Gimple will move to a new role as “chief content officer of the franchise.” In his place, veteran writer Angela Yang will take over as executive producer and showrunner, while the article also notes that stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus have negotiated new deals to stay with the series. Said Gimple of the transition:

The Walking Dead is a special show which started in an entirely different era of TV, and continues, in this new era, to confidently take chances to tell compelling stories that excite audiences and make them deeply connect with its characters, adapting Robert Kirkman’s brilliant comic book. As the show closes in on its 10th year, I’m honored to keep working with the talented, dedicated people behind and in front of the camera to make it all it can be, while expanding the world of The Walking Dead with new narratives like Fear the Walking Dead and a whole host of truly cool stories ahead. Angela is a big part of the heart and soul of The Walking Dead, and I’m thrilled to help facilitate her vision of the show’s next era.

For what it’s worth, Gimple had also previously stated the likelihood of The Walking Dead continuing through at least Season 10. Yang becomes the series’ fourth showrunner after Frank Darabont, Glenn Mazzara and Gimple, while AMC is continuing to battle a profit-sharing lawsuit with Darabont, Mazzara, creator Robert Kirkman and executive producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert.

The second half of Season 8 (and its major character shakeup) will continue in February. How many seasons should The Walking Dead last overall?

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