Per the Nielsen Live+Same Day numbers, Sunday’s installment of The Walking Dead – the tenth episode of the eighth season – only mustered a 2.9 rating among the key demographic (18-49) with a total of 6.8 million viewers. That’s the lowest rating since the first season eight years ago, when “Wildfire” drew a 2.8 rating in that same demo.
Indeed, the last time AMC’s flagship drew less than 7 million viewers was during the second season, when the episode “Better Angels” averaged 6.9 million. And here’s an overview of those ratings, which really illustrates the gradual decline – both in viewer count and ratings – since season 8’s opener, “Mercy.”
Episode 8×01: 11.44 million (5.0)
Episode 8×02: 8.92 million (4.0)
Episode 8×03: 8.52 million (3.8)
Episode 8×04: 8.69 million (3.9)
Episode 8×05: 7.85 million (3.4)
Episode 8×06: 8.3 million (3.6)
Episode 8×07: 7.47 million (3.3)
Episode 8×08: 7.9 million (3.4)
Episode 8×09: 8.3 million (3.6)
Episode 8×10: 6.8 million (2.8)
To its credit, The Walking Dead often sees a pretty steep drop-off between its mid-season premieres and their subsequent episodes, but when you couple today’s news with the fact that season 8’s return, “Honor,” became the show’s lowest-rated since season 3, it begs the question: is TWD running out of steam? Perhaps the long-running zombie drama is simply in the midst of a rut?
Either way, we’ll be crossing our fingers in the hope that The Walking Dead can bounce back. A ninth season is already in the pipeline, after all, so AMC has clearly placed its trust in the show’s creative talent, with Angela Kang expected to take over as showrunner for the next installment.