AMC announced today that it has ordered a pilot episode of a companion series for The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead, which premiered on AMC in October, 2010, has been the #1 program on television among adults 18-49 for the last two years. Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert from The Walking Dead are also executive producers of the new project which, like the original, is being produced by AMC Studios. Dave Erickson (Marco Polo, Sons of Anarchy), who co-created and co-wrote the pilot with Kirkman, will serve as an executive producer and showrunner.

Here's what AMC president Charlie Collier had to say in a statement.

"Almost from the beginning of The Walking Dead on AMC, fans have been curious about what is going on in the zombie apocalypse in other parts of the world. In fact, beyond requests for zombie cameos, it's the question I get asked the most. Obviously, we all take our stewardship of the original franchise incredibly seriously and we, along with Robert, Gale and David and now Dave, are all proceeding with extreme care in order to ensure that we are offering fans something truly compelling, engaging and distinct. We're thrilled to be taking this next step with these remarkable partners."

Robert Kirkman, who created the comic books that The Walking Dead is based on, had this to say in his statement.

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"There are many corners of The Walking Dead universe that remain unseen in the shadows. Being given the opportunity to shine a light into those corners and see what lurks out there is an absolute thrill. I know the fans are anxious to hear what Dave and I have been cooking up for this new universe of The Walking Dead, and I'm happy to be one step closer to sharing it with them."

Series co-creator Dave Erickson had this to say in his statement.

"I've been fortunate to have collaborated with both Robert and AMC on past projects and I'm thrilled to join them again, along with Gale and David, to build upon The Walking Dead's already epic narrative."

The pilot is scheduled for production in late 2014. No additional details are being provided about the location and/or casting for the pilot at this time.

The highly-anticipated fifth season of The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 12. The Walking Dead is based on the comic book series created and written by Robert Kirkman and published by Skybound, Kirkman's imprint at Image Comics.