The Walking Dead ratings just hit a six-year low. Make no mistake, The Walking Dead is still a huge show for AMC, but during the past couple of seasons, the network has seen ratings decline as some viewers are clearly growing tired of the show's current storyline. Negan may have worn out his welcome. The latest episode from The Walking Dead season 8, The Big Scary U, was the lowest rated episode since season 2.
The fifth episode of the season pulled in a grand total of 7.9 million viewers. Granted, that's still a huge number, but to find a lower-rated episode, you have to go back to the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead season 2, Secrets. That speaks to just how much AMC has lost with The Walking Dead. This all seemed to start after the frustrating resolution to the season 6 cliffhanger. Ever since, fans have shown declining interest in the series, based on the Image Comics title by Robert Kirkman. Even though this season is delivering more action, The Walking Dead may be past its prime, at least in terms of overall viewership.
The Big Scary U is an episode that seems like it should have managed to pull in bigger numbers than it did. Not only did we get to see Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon going at it, but we also started digging a bit deeper into Negan's backstory. There's also that helicopter that everyone is freaking out about. But Sunday Night Football and the American Music Awards, along with potential fatigue for the series in general, resulted in the massive ratings drop. But is The Walking Dead Season 8 actually in any trouble?
Even with the lowers numbers since 2011, The Walking Dead is still easily one of the biggest shows on TV. However, it's tough not to compare these numbers to 2014, when the show managed to bring in 17.3 million viewers. That's a steep dropoff, but the show would have to fall a whole lot further in order for AMC to even consider ending The Walking Dead. In fact, the network has said they could see the franchise continuing on, in some form or another, for decades.
The other thing to consider is that The Walking Dead is a lot more than just ratings for that episode. There's Talking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and a whole lot of merchandise that goes along with it. And the 7.9 million viewer figure, as reported by Deadline, is still plenty to justify keeping the series going. Still, it's hard to imagine we won't see some changes if the numbers continue to dip. The Walking Dead season 8 mid-season finale is set for December 10, which should bring in some bigger numbers. The real test will be when the show returns for the second half of the season in 2018.