Ever since premiering in 2010, it's been quite a ride for The Walking Dead. The very start of the series began with the story of Rick Grimes and his quest to find his lost wife and son in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Rick would soon find them only to sadly lose them both over the years, and now, Rick himself is gone from the show as well. Following Andrew Lincoln's decision to leave the AMC series, the show's lead character has officially been written out in the first half of Season 9. With the ratings reports for the following episodes coming in, things seem to be in dire straights for the future of the series, as the latest episode pulled in some of the lowest numbers in the show's entire run.
The first episode following Lincoln's exit, "Who Are You Now?", aired on Nov. 11, pulling in about 5.39 million viewers. This was slightly down from Rick's final episode, which drew about 5.41 million. Because the follow-up episode featured a time jump spanning six years, it seems fans still watching were sticking around, at least temporarily to see what came next. The Nov. 18 episode, "Strativarius," fell significantly further with 4.79 million total viewers, with a 1.8 rating in the coveted 18-49 viewer demographic. The numbers for the show are now doing worse than the bulk of The Walking Dead's first season, as this newest rating is the third-lowest in the series history. Season 1's "Vatos" and "Guts" drew 4.75 and 4.71 viewers, respectively.
With the next new episode being a mid-season finale, chances are the ratings will remain stagnant, and may even see a slight bump. The show's history suggests as much. It's certainly a concern for the show's future, however, because the next big drop will surely give the show its lowest ratings of all. This late in the game, it seem unlikely the series will ever come close to reaching the status it once had on television, at one point breaking 17.29 million viewers. We can spend all day debating exactly why, but for whatever reasons, fans have spent the past couple years departing the series by millions and millions.
At least publicly, AMC isn't showing any concern about The Walking Dead's future on the network. Falling ratings aside, plans have already been announced for three separate movies set in the universe to finish telling the story of Rick Grimes. In addition to Fear the Walking Dead, multiple spin-offs have been teased as well. It should be noted that these ratings, currently, aren't exactly terrible. They're just a far cry from what they once were for the show, and if they continue to fall, the show gets closer and closer to getting the axe.
The silver lining here is that, creatively, the show seems to be improving under the creative guidance of new showrunner Angela Kang. Even with the handicap of removing both Rick and Maggie from the show, new episodes of The Walking Dead are doing well critically. Unfortunately, it seems that the damage has been done by the show's creative mistakes made in the past, and too many people have already made up their mind to leave. Chances are, they're not coming back. This information comes to us from SpoilerTV.