The Walking Dead season 9 wrapped up this Sunday, bringing an end to a run that’s been very well-received by fans. The unfortunate thing is, though, that the up-turn in quality hasn’t been able to stop a general decline in viewing figures.
Deadline reports that episode 16, “The Storm,” raked in 5.02 million viewers on the whole, with just 2.4 million from the key 18-49 demographic, thereby earning it a 1.9 rating. That’s a fair chunk lower – 16%, to be exact – than the previous lowest-rated finale, season 1’s “TS-19,” which received 5.95 million viewers back in 2010.
That said, “The Storm” did increase by 21% in viewers and 25% in terms of the key demo from the previous week’s penultimate episode. That’s less impressive, however, when you remember that the episode titled “The Calm Before” only earned 4.15 million – which makes it the least-viewed outing in the nine-year history of the show.
Clearly, gone are the days when event episodes of TWD, such as season openers or finales, would routinely draw in more than 15 million viewers. For instance, 17.29 million tuned in for season 5’s opener “No Sanctuary” in 2014, which remains TWD‘s highest-rated week. The series had a hugely impressive run of enormous ratings, though, before things started to take a downward turn in season 8.
Still, there’s absolutely nothing for fans to worry about. Even with these figures, The Walking Dead remains the most popular show on cable and AMC is happy enough in the parent series to be busy investing in expanding the franchise in new and exciting ways. Don’t forget we’ve got those Andrew Lincoln-starring movies as well as a mysterious new spinoff in the works. Plus, Fear the Walking Dead is still going strong and returns for its fifth season in June.