‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Doctor Who’ Help AMC Networks Hone Focus on Fans

Variety | 10/17/2018 | Cynthia Littleton
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The roar rivaled the sound that reverberates around Madison Square Garden when the New York Rangers score a goal.

On Oct. 6, 5,000-plus die-hard fans of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” gathered in the Theater at Madison Square Garden for the New York Comic Con panel that marked the swan song for series star Andrew Lincoln.

Session - Gushing - Fans - Lincoln - Tenure

The hourlong session included much gushing from fans toward Lincoln for his long tenure on the show as the heroic Rick Grimes, which is set to end during the show’s current ninth season. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us,” said one middle-aged man, earnestly. A young boy dressed up as the character of Rick Grimes’ son Carl was hoisted onto the stage for a hug with his idol.

And then panel moderator Chris Hardwick broke the news that made the floor shake. For their love and loyalty, the fans were to be treated to a screening of the season nine premiere, a full day before it premiered on AMC.

Reaction - Example - Media - Company - Power

The swooning reaction was an example of how a media company can harness the power of the super fan to build overall goodwill for a franchise. AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has been suffering steep linear ratings declines in its latest live run. But you wouldn’t have predicted that from the fanaticism on display — via cosplay, tattoos and other demonstrations of affection — in the Garden.

“That was a perfect demonstration of one of the transcendent benefits of fandom,” said Susan Kresnicka, a cultural anthropologist and founder of Kresnicka Research and Insights. “It’s a really profound and heightened experience to be in a crowd that has a surge of emotion like that. Those type of moments are what make people wait in line for hours for the chance to a go to a big live event. It...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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