Fans have been waiting more than two months for AMC's The Walking Dead to return from its midseason hiatus, and now the hit zombie series is just seven days away from its midseason premiere. To get fans in the proper frame of mind for the show's return, AMC released a brief ad during the Super Bowl tonight, which signals the end of football season in quite the colorful fashion. Unfortunately, this trailer doesn't feature any actually new footage from the back half of this season, but it's quite entertaining nonetheless.
This brief video surfaced on AMC's YouTube after debuting during the big game, which simply features a football resting on the grass. Suddenly, the ball is smashed by the now-iconic barbed-wire bat Lucille, which belongs to the villainous Negan, before the message "Football is over" is displayed. After tonight's big game, Sunday nights will likely be dominated by this hit series, which is still among the most popular shows on the air, although there has been a bit of a ratings decline this year, particularly after the gruesome season premiere this October.
We reported last year that the show's season premiere, which saw the brutal deaths of Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), sparked a number of viewers to file FCC complaints. The controversy didn't affect the show's ratings at all, with over 17 million tuning into the premiere episode, with a whopping 8.4 ratings and 10.7 million viewers in the all-important 18-49 demographic. The episode was easily the highest-rated program among broadcast and cable shows alike. The 17 million viewers for the The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere is up 16% from the 14.6 million viewers who tuned in for the Season 6 premiere last year. It was also up 20% in total viewers and 22% in the 18-49 demo from last year's Season 6 finale, but it fell just short of the show's all-time record of 17.3 million viewers, 11 million in 18-49 and 8.7 rating, set by the Season 5 premiere. However, as the season progressed the ratings continued to slide, although we'll have to see if the ratings continue to drop when the back half of the season commences.
We also recently learned that the next three episodes will be longer than the traditional 60-minute runtime. The midseason premiere "Rock In the Road" will span 73 minutes, airing from 9:00 PM to 10:13 PM ET. The next episode, which doesn't have a title yet, will span six extra minutes for a total of 66 minutes on February 19, airing from 9:00 PM to 10:06 PM ET. The currently untitled 11th episode of Season 7 will add an additional eight minutes for a 68 minute episode, airing on February 26. Jeffrey F. January directs the midseason premiere, with Kari Skogland directing the 11th episode and Greg Nicotero directing the 12th episode.
Rick's group will find out yet again that the world isn't what they thought it was. It's much bigger than anything they've seen so far. While they have a singular purpose, to defeat Negan, it won't come easy. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable. We'll meet new survivors in incredible places. We'll see Rick and the group tested in ways we've never seen before. We'll see treachery from people we trust. Rick is confident as he will see his group and many others band together with the common goal of taking down Negan. But no amount of planning will prepare the group for all-out war with Negan and his army. Take a look at this new trailer for The Walking Dead Season 7, returning Sunday, February 12.