Alyssa Law Contributing Writer
On Sunday, Feb. 17, the AMC series “The Walking Dead” hit an all-time low in viewership and viewer rating. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the episode titled “Omega” reached only 4.54 million viewers, the lowest the show has ever had since its second episode in 2011 which reached 4.71 million viewers. In its prime, episodes reached over 17 million viewers.
“The Walking Dead,” based on a comic book series of the same name has aired on AMC since 2011 and is currently on its ninth season. It depicts a post-apocalyptic world where humans die and come back as flesh-eating zombies, or “walkers.” The show follows a group of human survivors along their journey as they navigate through the new world.
The decline in viewership can generally be chalked up to the fact that more and more people are simply not watching television anymore, but what is concerning for the show is the fact that viewer ratings have also hit an all-time low. This is a telltale sign that the show is nearing its demise. Based on ratings compiled by Nielson Media Ratings, last Sunday’s episode was rated a 1.7 out of 10—the lowest rating that the series has ever seen. The ratings of this episode were down from the previous episode, “Adaptation,” which was the mid-season premiere. There is generally a spike in the ratings of the mid-season premiers, as it is usually when a big plot twist unfolds, but the episode received a rating of only two out of 10. Additionally, every episode from this season has been rated less than any of the episodes in season one, when the show was still getting its feet wet in the television scene. The highest rated episode of the series was the season five premiere, with a rating of 8.7 out of 10.
Viewers can conclude the drastic downfall stemmed from the season seven premiere in 2016—two beloved characters were brutally killed by the villain, Negan. This left a lot of viewers sad and confused, kind of an “alright, I’m out” moment for fans. This episode, however, was rated the second highest of the series with an 8.4 out of 10, but after that, the viewership and the ratings suffered a sharp decline. What then followed in the show were months of drawn out monologues between the characters, little action, and a slow plot. It seemed as if the writers were trying to ride out the popularity that the show gained during seasons five and six by making the plot in the new episodes as drawn out as possible. In reality, this created the collapse of the series. Not to mention that the show ditched its main character Rick Grimes, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln, this season, and it seems like now the characters who are left won’t do the show much justice.
Hopefully there is promise for the once great show to become better again. A new, terrifying threat has introduced itself to the group during the mid-season finale back in November. Maybe they will be able to up the action, and bring the show back from the… dead. The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9 pm on AMC, but do yourself a favor and reminisce on the show’s prime by watching the first eight seasons on Netflix.