Will Violence on “The Walking Dead” Kill The Show?
Despite the fact that it’s still the number one show on television, a lot has been said in recent weeks about The Walking Dead‘s falling ratings. It’s true, the ratings have dipped significantly after the highly-anticipated Season 7 premiere, but I have a feeling things are going to turn around very soon.
First, let’s go back to that season premiere. After a full summer of anticipation and speculation, a record number of viewers tuned in to see who Negan killed in the Season 6 cliffhanger. The deaths of Glenn and Abraham became a watershed moment for the show, a new iconic scene in the history of television.
Afterward, the show lost more and more viewers each week. Some attributed the losses to viewers who were turned off by the violence in the season premiere. While that’s possible, the change in pace is the more likely culprit. After such a wild setup in the season premiere, a lot of viewers were unhappy or bored with the separate stories being told each week.
Splitting the group up and telling individual stories each episode has become a common trope on The Walking Dead. This season, though, it struck a nerve because viewers were hungry for retribution against Negan and were frustrated when it didn’t come. Which is exactly why I think the show will experience a huge uptick…
In the midseason finale, things with Negan finally came to a head. The deaths of Olivia and Spencer, along with the kidnapping of Eugene, finally lead Rick to realize the Alexandrians could no longer live under Negan’s rule. Viewers saw the writing on the wall, too, and returned in droves. The ratings for “Hearts Still Beating” ended up as the highest since the season premiere.
There are two main reasons I think that trend will continue next spring. First of all, now that Rick is ready to fight, viewers no longer have to be frustrated by the lack of consequences for Negan. From the look of it, the rebellion against the Saviors will be in full effect for the remainder of the season.
I also think a good portion of the viewers who dropped the show early in the season will find themselves playing catch-up during the hiatus. It’s easy to tune in week after week, realize you’re bored, and just give up. Once things are all said and done, though, it’s even easier to just binge through all of those episodes back-to-back.
The Walking Dead was never in any danger thanks to its falling ratings, but at any rate, I think we can all feel comfortable knowing the news narrative will soon change to talk about the new highs reached by the show.
What do you think? Do you have a theory on why Walking Dead ratings have been down this season? Will viewers return to watch Rick and the others “rise up” against Negan?
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