As early as next season, you could be seeing The Walking Dead on IFC, as well as AMC. Or you might see it in reruns. A source close to IFC said that parent company AMC Networks was considering every permutation with respect to the AMC hit, short of moving the show entirely to the smaller cable channel. The New York Post first reported the news today.
IFC maintains a much lower ratings profile than its big sister, which boasts huge numbers for Walking Dead (12.3 million on Sunday and a whopping 6.1 in the demo—a best for all of cable) and serious muscle on Breaking Bad and Mad Men, as well. IFC has built a slate of original comedies including Portlandia, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, and Comedy Bang! Bang!, among others. Audiences haven't taken to them with the same gusto, however, and anyone trying to break into male-centric comedy has to deal with stiff competition from FX and Adult Swim.
On the face of it, moving the wildly popular zombie drama to IFC would seem like a savvy decision—rather than pay another company to syndicate reruns of a high-rated show (see also TBS and CBS's The Big Bang Theory, which the cable network uses to anchor its original programs), AMC could simply expand its own popular programming onto its sister network and IFC could reap the benefits without any money having to leave the company.
But either rerunning the show on IFC or premiering it simultaneously on both networks poses risks. Expand the program onto another network and you could seriously dilute viewership for advertisers who've bought AMC but not IFC. Rerun it, and you devalue your longstanding license with Netflix, which streams AMC's product a season late on its digital service.