For every action, there must be a reaction. With a new showrunner in Angela Kang, a time skip bringing about a new beginning, and the impending departure of both Lauren Cohan and series lead Andrew Lincoln, one would think that many would be tuning into The Walking Dead not just to see how things play out but, like with Carl’s death, how the series would continue from there with the exit of a main character, in this case both Rick Grimes and Maggie Rhee.
But despite all of those changes, and the much more positive reception for the series under Kang’s tenure versus recent seasons, the numbers aren’t there. Sure, you can blame that on other factors such as other shows, football games, DVR, or just general lack of interest, but numbers for The Walking Dead aren’t there, as far as the day one views. Nowadays, other things are factored in, such as the Live+3 ratings that can often lift a show’s numbers after its premiere, but right off the bat, the figures do not look all that great, especially with Rick Grimes leaving soon.
In the most recent episode, “Warning Signs,” the preliminary numbers are at five million. Now you may think, and I can agree with you on this to an extent, that five million is nothing to scoff at. Many programs in or out of that time slot would probably kill for numbers like that. And indeed, a lot of struggling programs would love five million viewers. But you have to factor in demographics as well, in particular the 18-49 age range, which dropped to 1.94 this week. Admittedly, Sunday Night Football didn’t do much better, but it’s another drop for The Walking Dead.
While the series would definitely benefit from a shock to the heart, the repeated reminders that “Hey, Rick Grimes only has two more episodes” would indicate that AMC is pulling out all the stops to make sure viewers are informed that the main character isn’t going to be around for long. But even that doesn’t appear to be bringing viewers back to the television screens for the day one views. The same can be said for those who can see the episode early with the AMC Premiere service.
So it really does remain to be seen just how, if at all, The Walking Dead can get its numbers back up to, say, Season 7 premiere numbers. And when Rick Grimes is no longer part of the equation, what happens then? We’ll hopefully find out in the coming weeks ahead with Rick Grimes’ final two episodes upon us. Do you believe that the numbers for The Walking Dead can bounce back? Let us know in the comments below.
The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights at 9 P.M. on AMC.