For some longtime fans, including myself, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep watching The Walking Dead. While the show continues to attract big ratings (although they are dropping compared to their own lofty standards), the general consensus is that the quality of the show has dropped off considerably in the last few seasons.

The downward trend apparently doesn’t bother anyone at AMC, though, as they continue to push forwards with their marquee series, along with the same-universe spin-off Fear The Walking Dead. But just how long can the series last, considering the declining ratings and increasingly harsh critical reviews?

If the show attempts to catch up to the comics before it finished airing, it’s reasonable to expect it could last another three or four seasons, at least (and that’s if they speed up the pacing). Comic creator Robert Kirkman has said the show could run for up to 20 seasons before, but AMC CEO Josh Sapan recently revealed that the channel has much more longterm plans.

“The use of the word ‘franchise,’ we don’t take lightly. It’s not a sloppy or casual word,” Sapan said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts, according to Deadline. “We’ve studied the best. Some have been around 30, 40, 50 years. We have a chance for a lot of life in the franchise.”

Along with the comic series and the two television series, The Walking Dead has spawned a ton of merchandise, video games, toys, mobile games, and pretty much anything you can think of. Kirkman has made it no secret that the success of this franchise may be the most lucrative creation of his entire career, and he plans to cash in as much as he can (and we can’t say we blame him).

While ratings are dropping, they are still overall impressive. Over 15 million people watched the Season Eight premiere, which makes The Walking Dead the second-most watched show next to Game of Thrones. AMC can still command top advertising dollars with those kind of numbers. However, we have serious doubts about Season 27 of The Walking Dead being any good…