NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Since 2010, The Walking Dead has been one of the top shows on cable television. Cable company AMC Networks (AMCX) has profited handsomely from the hit zombie-themed show. Now, with a new syndication partnership with AMC, 21st Century Fox (FOXA) is stepping up to share in the wealth.
The post-apocalyptic drama will lead a second life in syndication, walking the earth and terrifying viewers all over again.
The surprise announcement came Wednesday that Fox unit MyNetworkTv has won the syndication rights to The Walking Dead. Episodes will air beginning in the fall, when MyNetworkTV shows two episodes of The Walking Dead on one night a week.
Fox executive Frank Cicha summed it up: "It's not often you get to add the hottest show on the planet to your lineup."
The Walking Dead is no ordinary hit cable show. It's the No. 1-watched television program across all networks, including broadcast television. The show has dominated the coveted advertising market of viewers aged 18 to 49. The most recent episode, airing Sunday, March 16, was watched by 12.9 million viewers. In that audience, 8.1 million viewers were age 18 to 49. In October 2013, the premiere for season 4 became the most-watched episode of the series with 16.1 million viewers, including 10.4 million adults. Through the last 30 episodes, only three have fallen below the 10 million total viewer mark, an impressive feat for a cable TV show.
21st Century Fox is clearly putting a lot of money into its MyNetworkTV. The channel currently airs reruns of shows like Law and Order: SVU, Bones, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, House and Monk. Previously the network has aired Desperate Housewives and WWE Smackdown.
The move by Fox also gives the company another way to capitalize on The Walking Dead. Fox's International Group was one of the early backers of the show and now has rights to air The Walking Dead in nearly every country outside the U.S. Fox has already clearly benefited alongside AMC, as the show gains international popularity.