The Walking Dead is not the ratings juggernaut for AMC that it once was, but there are still tons of people watching it. Despite hemorrhaging millions of live viewers over the past couple years, ratings are still high enough to keep the series among one of the highest-rated on television. Additionally, online pirates are maintaining their interest in the show as well. In contrast to the waning interest from those watching the series legally, The Walking Dead is the most-downloaded show of 2018. This is certainly sour news for those at AMC preferring people watch the show live on the network, but it does show that there are still lots of people watching, albeit illegally.

The file-sharing website Torrent Freak released a list of the most-illegally downloaded shows for the year. Sitting firmly in the top spot is The Walking Dead, beating out The Flash and The Big Bang Theory. Other popular shows for pirates include Vikings, Titans, Arrow, Supernatural, Westworld, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and Suits. Noticeably absent is HBO's hit series Game of Thrones which had no new episodes in 2018, which would have been all but guaranteed to make the list as well. When that show resumes with its final season in April, chances are it's going to be struggling with new episodes being downloaded en masse. In the meantime, HBO still makes the list with Westworld, which concluded its second season in 2018.

At the height of its popularity, The Walking Dead was able to pull in over 17 million live viewers on multiple occasions. Since the death of series favorite Glenn Rhee at the start of season 6, however, ratings have been plummeting at an alarming rate. Having more fan favorites like Maggie, Rick, and Carl leave the show hasn't helped matters, leading to a continued downfall for the show's ratings. Still, under new showrunner Angela Kang, the series is doing well critically. Some fans are calling the creative change of direction a breath of fresh air, but it just might be a little too late. With so many fans throwing in the towel, the show seems to be on borrowed time.

Related: Third Walking Dead Series Is in Active Development at AMC

The future of The Walking Dead isn't perfectly clear, but AMC has hopes to keep the franchise's universe alive for at least ten more years. In addition to Fear the Walking Dead, another companion series is in the works. Andrew Lincoln will also be reprising the role of Rick Grimes in no less than three upcoming Walking Dead movies. It's hard to say just how well TV viewership will be when it comes to live ratings, but in any case, it seems that the pirates are sticking with it. Lots of people still love The Walking Dead, but apparently not everyone is willing to pay for it.

Currently, The Walking Dead is on its winter hiatus. New episodes will continue when season 9 resumes on Feb. 10. If you enjoy the series but you're only watching it through pirating, do the right thing and watch the program legally. The show needs legit viewership now more than ever, and pirating ultimately hurts its survival more than anything. This information comes to us from Torrent Freak.

Jeremy Dick