‘The Walking Dead’ has been hemorrhaging viewers for several seasons now, beginning roughly Season Six, when the show fake-killed Glenn in a cliffhanger that they refused to resolve immediately, stringing fans along for a month. The Season Nine premiere, which aired on Sunday night, October 7th, attracted 6.1M viewers, 47% fewer than last year’s Season Eight premiere, which itself was the lowest rated debut since Season Three. Among adults 18-49, ratings are down 51%. These are the lowest ratings for ‘The Walking Dead’ since its initial six-episode run in 2010, before the show caught fire, becoming a sensation and at one point, the highest rated show on TV.
But after ‘The Walking Dead’ fake-killed Glenn, then really killed Glenn (and Abraham), and topped that by killing Carl last season, fans just seem tired of seeing characters they love slaughtered, especially when it seems that these deaths are concocted to shock those that may have become desensitized to the constant carnage.
The news that both Andrew Lincoln (Rick) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie) are leaving this season could have worked out either way. Fans may have been enticed to watch in order to see how the show would send them off. Or they could have preemptively tuned out to avoid the pain of watching two of the most popular characters lumbering toward their doom… or at least their final goodbyes.
Keep in mind, this is a new age, and not everyone watches TV live. There are still a few days to go, when viewings of recorded episodes will still count toward ratings. But, ‘The Walking Dead’ used to be one of those shows that fans live-watched the most, partly because it comes on on Sunday nights, when almost everyone is home, getting ready for work the next day.
This year, there is some speculation that football may have drawn viewers away. AMC offered the premiere, commercial-free, a day early on its streaming service and as a result, saw the single biggest increase in new sign-ups in its history. But, unfortunately, those viewings don’t count toward ratings.
Are you still watching ‘The Walking Dead’?
Source: Entertainment Weekly