The Walking Dead hasn’t had the easiest time this year, with the show continuing to struggle with declining ratings and controversial storytelling decisions.
On one side of the lens, season 8 reached its mid-season finale the other month with all the urgency of a mindless walker lumbering toward its next victim. Titled “How It’s Gotta Be,” the super-sized episode failed to leave much of an impression on viewers, with most fans questioning the need to kill off Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), a mainstay of The Walking Dead since its inception.
Not only that, but Deadline recently told us that “How It’s Gotta Be” posted the worst numbers for a mid-season finale of The Walking Dead since 2011, and that’s despite the episode drawing in a grand total of 7.9 million viewers. But among adults aged 18-49, “How It’s Gotta Be” was down four percent from season 2’s “Pretty Much Dead Already.”
Now, Skybound CEO David Alpert has addressed the issue of the show’s poor performance in an interview with Variety, explaining that:
“I don’t think in any way the brand has lost its relevance in general, I think we’re just seeing a decline in urgency across all media to consume something at a specific time.”
In all fairness, the producer does have a point. Most viewers watch their shows at different times from when they air. Especially nowadays since there are so many options for how and when to watch. Whether it’s an on-demand service or some kind of digital recording, no longer do we have to make sure that we’re in front of our television set at a certain time every week. And when you take into account DVR numbers, The Walking Dead‘s ratings do look a bit better.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that both critics and fans have been unhappy with the show this year. True, part of the ratings drop may be due to what Alpert’s saying here, but we also imagine that many people are just giving up. After all, season 7 was a hugely controversial one and it doesn’t look like the writers have done much to get viewers back on board this year.
Whatever the case may be, The Walking Dead is still one of the most watched shows on television, with many of the cast and crew hinting that it could last for at least 10 seasons. As such, fans don’t have to worry about it going anywhere for the foreseeable future.