Though admittedly with much less strife than in previous years, AMC has renewed mega-monster hit 'The Walking Dead' for a fifth season to begin airing in the fall of 2014. No showrunner change this time around as far as we can tell, meaning Scott Gimple will continue onward where Frank Darabont and Glen Mazzara have been previously ousted under dubious circumstances.

Details are still pouring in, though it seems likely that 'The Walking Dead' season 5 will continue to operate with its first eight episodes in late 2014, followed by another eight in early 2015. Not yet clear is the role of the purported 'Walking Dead' spinoff companion series, currently slated to launch in 2015 as well.

Jokingly referring to the no-brainer announcement as ”one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever,” AMC president Charlie Collier said of the renewal:

This is a show that has erased traditional distinctions between cable and broadcast. Its expanding base of passionate fans has grown every season, most recently — and most notably — with the Season 4 premiere earlier this month, which broke viewership records for the series and became the biggest non-sports telecast in cable history. On behalf of the incredible team on both sides of the camera, thank you to the fans and here’s to more Dead.

So far, 'The Walking Dead’ season 4 features ‘The Wire’ star Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. as comic character Bob Stookey, and will introduce ‘Southland‘ vet Michael Cudlitz as Sgt. Abraham Ford, Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter, ‘Twilight‘ vet Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, and Alanna Masterson as a new mystery character. The returning David Morrissey’s villainous Governor has been upgraded to series regular, though his season 5 involvement seems unlikely.

Well, what say you? Are you at all surprised to learn 'The Walking Dead' will return for season 5? Watch the latest preview for next Sunday's episode below, and give us your thoughts in the comments!

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