"The Walking Dead" isn't going to end any time soon as AMC's CEO, Josh Sapan, described it as a universe - think franchise - rather than a series. Digital Spy noted that it will last for "at least the next decade." This is despite some waning viewership.

The forecast death of Rick upset some fans. They feel he's central to the story, but people always react to change negatively. Rick Grimes' exit is still not known, but given the nature of the show, it's presumably through death. Season 9 got a bit of a spoiler by Newsweek that indicated that Epidose 5 could be the one to watch, given the creators involved and the names of the episodes.

AMC not planning to end The Walking Dead soon

The Hollywood Reporter noted that Sapan was self-congratulatory when speaking with Wall Street. He feels they've been "prudent" in the way they're expanding their programs. Apparently, he has no fears about the lower ratings and some falling-away viewers.

He pointed out "The Walking Dead," saying, it's "a universe." He noted they expect to manage it over the "next decade." Of course, with the "Fear The Walking Dead" spin-off, that's possible. In fact, as far as he's concerned it's not so much a spin-off as part of the franchise of the apocalyptic zombie world.

Episode 5 may see Rick exit

Digital Spy noted that with the release of Season 9's episodes titles, Newsweek may have stumbled onto some clues about when Rick Grimes exits.

The 'how' isn't so apparent, but the reasoning makes a lot of sense. Episode 5 seems to be the one to watch for. Spoilers for this include noting that the title is "What Comes After." AMC's trailers already indicate that Rick's departure could come early in the series. The title of the episode isn't really the spoiler, though that would be in the minds of fans.

That would be the obvious question - what does come after Grimes goes away?

Nonetheless, the people working on that particular "Walking Dead" episode produce the very best of the show. Newsweek theorizes that with Director Greg Nicotero working on the episode, they'll deliver something excellent. He's the long-time "Director, Producer and Effects Artist," so it's likely AMC would use him in the most important exit of the series.

Season 9 trailer of The Walking Dead

The premiere of Season 9 is fast approaching (October 8th in the UK), and a recent teaser trailer showed that Rick will "be fighting for a better future," according to AMC on YouTube. We already know he doesn't have a future, but perhaps he'll pass on knowing that he gave it his best and tried anyway. No matter what happens, it's going to be difficult for fans of the show to cope with his loss, no matter what episode of "The Walking Dead" it comes in.