Despite having one of the biggest twists in the history of the series, The Walking Dead mid-season finale took a pretty big hit in the ratings department, when compared to last year's mid-season finale. The episode was only up 2 percent overall in the ratings, when compared to last week's episode. The Walking Dead Season 8 fall finale is actually the second-lowest in the history of the hit AMC series, trailing only season 2's Pretty Much Dead Already.
When compared to The Walking Dead Season 7's fall finale, The Walking Dead Season 8 is down 34 percent in the ratings. In recent years, AMC has been losing viewers and the monologue-heavy episode, which revealed that a major character is going to die, didn't help matters any. The 90-minute Walking Dead episode managed a 3.36 among adults 18-49, which is the coveted demographic for shows like this. Still, even with the falling ratings, The Walking Dead is still one of the biggest shows on TV and is in absolutely no danger of being canceled. But AMC definitely needs to pay attention to this downward Walking Dead ratings trend.
Warning: spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead mid-season finale. During the latest episode, Carl Grimes was in a battle with The Saviors and, after the dust settles from the battle, he reveals that he has a Walker bite on his torso. It's been confirmed by showrunner Scott M. Gimple that Carl is indeed going to die and that this isn't some sort of trick. He's going to be killed off when The Walking Dead season 8 returns on February 25 for its mid-season premiere.
I total, the episode How Its Gotta Be pulled in 7.9 million viewers, which is up 5 percent from the previous episode Time for After, which aired on December 3. Again, that's still a massive number and the kind of ratings that other shows would kill for. But considering that Chandler Riggs' Carl Grimes, one of just a handful of original characters still on the series, is being killed off, it seems like a twist of that magnitude would bring in more eyeballs. Granted, nobody could have known that's what AMC was planning. Though, they did tease a very impactful death for the mid-season finale.
Despite the fact that ratings took a hit for The Walking Dead Season 8 so far, things could be looking up when the show comes back in February. Carl's impending death has been a major topic of conversation and AMC could wind up seeing a huge ratings boost, as fans of The Walking Dead, even if they haven't tuned in regularly for a while, will likely want to tune in to see his final episode. That's good news for AMC, as Deadline notes that the mid-season finale was the third least watched episode of the entire Walking Dead Season 8 so far.