The Walking Dead is suffering from its lowest ratings since 2013, and although there are number of possible contributing factors, it’s too early to look at the series with gloom.
According to Zap2It, the most recent episode of The Walking Dead pulled in just under 11 million viewers. To compare, the season premiere — the second most-watched episode in the show’s history — brought in 17 million viewers, but the show has seen a steady decline ever since.
After the incredibly violent premiere, many fans swore off the show for good, claiming that it had become too much and had crossed a line. While the poor numbers don’t necessarily prove that’s what happened, it is strange that the show has seen such a steep fall in viewership — about 25 percent between the premiere and the second episode, which brought in 12.5 million viewers — in such a short amount of time.
This time last season, the show was hovering around 12.5 and 13 million viewers on average, which is just slightly higher. The main difference, however, as seen in the chart below, was that the drop off wasn’t quite as noticeable. The ratings changed week after week, with some episodes bringing in slightly more viewers than others. This season, however, there’s a noticeable drop in viewership every single week.
Despite the drop, however, there are a couple of things that should be remembered. Even at just under 11 million viewers, The Walking Dead remains one of the most watched shows on television. It slays in the most coveted demographic — 18 to 34-year-olds — and garners more coverage from press than most shows on the air right now.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the show saw an increase in viewership toward the end of the season, and it’s pretty safe to assume that the finale will once again bring in major numbers for the show. Studying the chart above, it’s clear that even when the show drops in ratings mid-season (as many tend to do), by the time the finale rolls around, people tune in to see what’s going to happen.
Last season, the show’s season finale had the third-highest rating among other finales over the six years it’s been on the air. It ended on a cliffhanger, which many critics called the show out for, but still managed to draw in over 14 million viewers.
The Walking Dead, currently in its seventh season, airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. ET.