The Walking Dead Is 2017’s Most Watched Show In Key Demo


It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for The Walking Dead camp – both on set and off.

On one side of the lens, season 8 reached its mid-season finale not too long ago with all the urgency of a mindless walker lumbering toward its next victim. Entitled “How It’s Gotta Be,” let’s just say that the super-sized episode struggled to leave much of an impression on its audience, while some questioned the need to kill off Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), a mainstay of The Walking Dead since its inception.

Held up as a game-changing moment, Carl’s forthcoming death will have a marked effect on season 8, but it seems that endgame shocker wasn’t enough to save the show’s dwindling ratings.

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.”

Despite this, however, AMC’s zombie drama is still the most-watched show on cable in the key 18-49 demographic. According to Nielsen’s live-plus-7 stats, the show earned a 7.0 rating, bringing in 9.02 million viewers on average in that demo, with Sunday Night Football coming in at a close second, with 8.22 million viewers on average and a 6.4 rating.

To put this into perspective, Game of Thrones posted a 6.2 rating in its penultimate season with 8.02 million viewers on average, while trailing close behind were This Is Us (5.1, 6.60 million), The Big Bang Theory (4.6, 5.91 million), and Thursday Night Football(4.5, 5.83 million).

Again, though, this is all just in that key demo of 18-49. When you include all demos, here’s how the rankings look:

  1. Sunday Night Football, NBC (18.58 million)
  2. The Big Bang Theory, CBS (18.52 million)
  3. The Good Doctor, ABC (17.96 million)
  4. Young Sheldon, CBS (17.76 million)
  5. NCIS, CBS (17.70 million)
  6. This Is Us, NBC (16.52 million)
  7. America’s Got Talent (Tuesday), NBC (16.03 million)
  8. The Walking Dead, AMC (14.80 million)
  9. America’s Got Talent (Wednesday), NBC (14.70 million)
  10. Bull, CBS (14.42 million)

So, The Walking Dead isn’t quite as high once you take all demographics into account, but still, it’s great to see that the show reigns supreme amongst 18-49 year-olds and we’re hopeful that things will be able to improve a bit once Rick and co. return to our screens in February.