The Walking Dead has been a television juggernaut since its inception in 2010. Since then AMC has seen the ratings for their most popular show rise season by season (save for a slight lull during Season 6). This year has been quite different for The Walking Dead, starting with its Season 8 premiere.
The Walking Dead saw a massive drop from a 17.03 million viewers premiere in Season 7 to 11.4 million viewers. The Season 8 premiere had the lowest ratings since Season 3 of the show. There may be some easily explainable reasons for this drop.
Why So Low?
If we look at the details surrounding the last few seasons, the drop does not look as devastating. Season 6 saw a debut with 14.6 million viewers, which is only a few million over what we have seen in Season 8. The ratings continued to climb into Season 7, which exploded to the previously mentioned 17.03 million viewers. This jump was most likely caused by the infamous cliffhanger at the end of Season 6.
So many of us tuned in day one to see what unfortunate soul would be on the receiving end of Lucille. That being considered, perhaps it was the lack of a cliffhanger, as well as the inflation from the previous season’s cliffhanger, that led to the somewhat daunting drop.
Unfortunately, this does not explain the continuous drop we’ve seen throughout Season 8 of The Walking Dead. The mid-season finale for the show pulled a meager 7.8 million viewers. This can most likely be attributed to the controversial decisions the show has made for “All Out War.”
Many fans have complained about the pacing and tone of the season. Further, the quality of the show was severely lacking from episode to episode. The main reprieve from this slog being the fan favorite Episode 5, “The Big Scary U”.
Don’t Panic. The Walking Dead Isn’t Doomed.
Ratings and fan complaints aside, there is still hope for the future of The Walking Dead. A lot of hope in fact. As it stands The Walking Dead is still the highest viewed show for AMC. Overall its one of the highest rated shows on television, alongside Game of Thrones. The rating drop is by no means a non-story, but it certainly does not spell doom for the series.
To be honest, this drop is not unusual for popular TV shows. Most popular shows have seen a decline in viewership in their latter seasons, especially following a sharp climb (like what is seen from Season 5-7). Rest assured that The Walking Dead has a good amount of life left.