The Walking Dead returned for its milestone tenth season this past Sunday, with hardcore fans thrilled by the start of yet another run of the post-apocalyptic drama. However, millions of viewers failed to show up for the season premiere, meaning that the episode fell to series low ratings.
As Deadline reports, 10×01 “Lines We Cross” was watched by just 4 million viewers, a sharp drop from last year’s season 9 opener which drew 6.08 million. That’s a sizeable 34% slide from one year to the next. This not only makes it the least-watched season premiere of the entire show but also its least-watched episode of any kind of all-time.
The previous “winner” of that record was 9×15 “The Calm Before,” which earned 4.15 million, meaning a further 3% of fans have checked out since then. In the key demographics of adults 18-49 and adults 25-54, the opener fell 44% and 34% from 2018’s opener to 1.4 and 1.9 ratings, respectively.
If all this sounds like it spells doom for TWD, then it has to be stressed that there’s no need to worry about the future of the show. For one, AMC just renewed it for an eleventh season, while the network has also announced that subscription rates are up on their AMC Premiere service, thanks to the early release of the season 10 opener on the site a week before its TV broadcast. We don’t know the specific numbers, but it seems likely that we can attribute at least a certain amount of the falling ratings to this. It is the first time AMC has dropped it a full seven days early online, after all, as in 2018, the premiere only released 24 hours before.
Season 9’s ratings went up and down, too, so we’ll just have to see how season 10 fares as it continues to unfold. And on that note, you can catch The Walking Dead 10×02 “We Are The End of the World” when it airs on AMC this Sunday, October 13th.