Sunday was not the greatest night for cable originals. Several shows took ratings hits, and ‘The Walking Dead’ suffered the biggest ratings drop of all.
AMCs long running zombie series ‘The Walking Dead’ recorded a six-year low in adults aged 18-49 with a 3.4 rating (it was off half a point vs. last week). The last time it scored that low was Nov. 20, 2011, when episode 6 of Season 2 drew a 3.1. The 7.85 million viewers that tuned into the show were its fewest since the next-to-last episode of Season 2 in March 2012.
Even though those numbers seem dismal, it’s worth noting that ‘The Walking Dead’ was still the most watch cable program for the night. The second highest rating went to the series’ after-show ‘Talking Dead,’ which led the third place series, ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ by a few thousand viewers. The difference between ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ is more than five million viewers.
However, the drop shouldn’t be taken lightly. The fact that the ratings are dropping at all suggests that fans are less invested in the show’s current storyline. Despite the narrative of the “all out war,” this season has moved along at a snail’s pace. This was made painfully obvious by ‘The Big Scary U,’ which was the fifth episode of the season to revisit a cliffhanger from the season premiere.
The show’s ratings are something that most networks would gladly take, let alone a cable outlet like AMC. However, the steady drop does suggest that the show’s lifetime is not quite as secure as everyone assumed. It may be best to give ‘The Walking Dead’ a solid wrap-up date, and a solid wrap-up plot for that matter, rather than continue to drag things out.
‘The Walking Dead’ will break for its winter finale on December 10, and the series will be back early in 2018 for the rest of the “All Out War” saga.