This past Sunday saw the long-awaited return of Rick Grimes and company in the Season 8 premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead. The episode, entitled “Mercy,” was viewed by 11.4 million people. It’s an impressive number for most shows, but marks a significant decline in viewership for what many consider to be one of the most talked about shows on television. To compare, last year’s Season 7 premiere brought in 17.5 million viewers. This makes it a staggering 35 percent drop from last season’s premiere to this year’s premiere.
In the coveted demographic of ages 18-49, the episode managed a mere 5.0 rating from Nielsen’s Live + Same Day metric. Last year’s premiere had the advantage of picking off from one of the all-time frustrating cliffhangers, in which the audience wasn’t clued in as to which member of Rick’s crew Negan had decided to kill off. Perhaps this season’s plotline didn’t offer longtime fans of the program as exciting of a pitch to tune in after the long summer hiatus. Whatever the reasons are for the ratings decline, only time will tell how these numbers will translate over the course of the rest of the season.
The series stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos, Josh McDermitt, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Austin Nichols, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Tom Payne, Austin Amelio, Xander Berkeley, Pollyanna McIntosh, Steven Ogg, and Katelyn Nacon.
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC.
Source: The Wrap