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‘Walking Dead’ Will Lead Way for Fearfest

10/17/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

The Halloween premiere of AMC’s The
Walking Dead in 2010 culminated the network’s annual
“Fearfest” marathon of acquired horror movies.

This year, the zombie-themed drama series will kick off the
network’s 16-day programming stunt.

AMC is hoping that last year’s surprise hit series will help
boost viewership for its 2011 Fearfest
campaign, which will feature more
than 300 hours of Halloweenthemed
programming and more
than 60 films, according to Tom Halleen,
AMC’s senior vice president of
programming and scheduling.

The 15th Fearfest will feature
three episodes of The Walking Dead,
which launched its sophomore
campaign last night (Oct. 16) with a
90-minute premiere.

‘DAWN’ BROUGHT VIEWERS

Last year’s Fearfest, which changed its brand from Monsterfest
in 2008, was the network’s most watched ever, with
movies such as Dawn of the Dead and From Dusk Till Dawn
drawing 2.3 million and 1.3 million viewers, respectively.

“Fearfest remains the No. 1 event annually for
AMC,” Halleen said. “We keep buying more movies and
still cover everything from the 1930s to the 2000s.”

Joel Stillerman, AMC’s senior vice president of original
programming, production and digital content, said the ratings
and critical success of Walking Dead as the finale of
last year’s Fearfest helped convince the network to use the
show’s second-season premiere to launch this year’s effort.

The series’ Oct. 31, 2010, premiere averaged 5.1 million
viewers, outperforming the debuts of AMC’s Emmy Awardwinning
series Breaking Bad and
Mad Men.

The six-episode Walking Dead
would go on to average 3.5 million
adults 18 to 49 in its first season, making
it the most-watched drama series
in basic-cable history for the demo.

“Last year, we saw Fearfest as the
ideal promotional platform to launch
Walking Dead,” he said. “This year, a
lot has changed. Walking Dead was
such a success from a performance standpoint, we now see the
series not reliant on Fearfest but as a way to launch Fearfest.”

Stillerman would not project a rating for The Walking
Dead
, but said the decision to extend it to 13 episodes — six
aired in its first season — will not affect its performance.

Along with The Walking Dead, AMC Fearfest 2011 — hosted
by horror-movie maven George Romero — will feature other
original programming.

The network on Sunday launched a 14-part original minidocumentary
series, American Haunters, which takes a
behind-the-scenes look at a New York commercial attraction,
Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion.

NEW AND OLD FILMS

Among the movie premieres slated for Fearfest are Romero’s
Survival of the Dead; Diary of the Dead; The Hills Have Eyes;
Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane; Slither; From
Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money and From Dusk Till
Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter
.

Other movies include Night of the Living Dead (1968),
The Fly (1958
and 1986 versions), Candyman: Farewell to
the Flesh (1995), Bride of Frankenstein (1932), The Omen
(1976), White Noise (2005), Scream 3 (2000), Cujo (1983),
Resident Evil (2002) and Halloween (1978)
.

AMC’s Fearfest will also feature a digital component via a
daily, horror movie-based trivia game in which amctv.com
visitors can earn badges and challenge friends via Facebook.

The site will also stream such full-length “B-movie” horror
flicks as White Zombie, The Last Man on Earth, Teenage Zombies,
Asylum, Carnival of Souls and The Undead
.

September
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