The Walking Dead / Fear the Walking Dead
The Walking Dead is the #1 show that I claim to "hate watch" - I watch it even though I'm never 100% sure why. I always kinda dread it coming back because it means I have to add it to my watching schedule even though I sorta hate the premise and hate most of the characters. But I've lasted longer than most and have put in so much time that I'd feel weird about just abandoning it. I've become the walking dead....
So when Fear the Walking Dead was announced, I thought it was a good time to remind myself that I don't like this show. But then they tricked me....it was going to be a prequel. And since the time right before and right after a zombie apocalypse is the most interesting to me (because of how many things would have to go wrong for it to happen), I was interested. So I watched.
And then the show did what all zombie media do....it flash forwarded. Now Fear was just The Walking Dead on the west coast with characters I still didn't love. I wasn't necessarily hate watching it yet, but I watched because I watched. The show started to feel a little more fresh because it started to be a little more fast and loose with its premise. Main characters were able to change and grow, and the show kept me on my toes.
There was talk since the beginning of crossing the two shows over. The only problem....Fear was still technically a prequel. It had time jumped, but it hadn't time jumped that much. So when a crossover was announced, especially around the time that Fear was wrapping up its 3rd season (when the narrative pointed toward a move to Houston), it was assumed that a logical character to cross over would be Abraham Ford. He was a character on seasons 4-7 of the Walking Dead who was a fan favorite, was dead on the main show, and had a history in Texas. Adding him to Fear would make sense in the timeline and would add some juice to Fear.
But then they announced that it was...Morgan. Morgan was certainly a fan favorite, and his past is a little murky. So even up until the premiere of Fear, the new walking theory (pun included) was that it'd fill in some gaps in Morgan's storyline. He'd been a bit of a wanderer, and some time spent in Texas might make sense. Or, of course, having the Fear characters start in Texas and end closer to where Morgan might be could work.
Either way, it was thought that Morgan would die on the Walking Dead so he could live on Fear the Walking Dead.
And then they did something completely different....
He didn't die. Then started the episode of Fear in the present day with some Walking Dead characters. Maybe it'd frame his time in Texas as some sort of flashback? Nope. It stays in the present day of Walking Dead and has him travel to Texas. The whole episode is basically a pilot for "The Morgan Show" with all new characters. Only at the end do we understand what's happened.
Morgan didn't adapt to Fear the Walking Dead. Fear the Walking Dead adapted for Morgan. The whole show time-jumped in some weird backdoor pilot for a spinoff of itself.
And you know what? It was good! Morgan makes sense as a character who would wander from one show to another, and now the two shows work hand in hand. More crossovers are possible, not just from main characters but factions from one show could impact factions from the other show. And, assuming they stay in their respective places, they're also far enough apart (and transportation slow enough) that they're not going to get lost in a fog of "connected universe problems" where "why didn't that happen?"
I don't know if Morgan was moved to bolster ratings for Fear or if it was done out of story necessity....but whatever they did, it worked.