The Walking Dead has long been a ratings juggernaut for AMC, but viewership numbers over the past few episodes suggest that interest in the zombie-themed drama is falling ever so slightly. Despite a highly anticipated premiere that nearly broke series viewing records with just a hair more than 17 million viewers, viewership for subsequent episodes has been declining steadily.
According to Comicbook, the drop off from episode 1 to episode 2 was huge, with the second episode of the season 7 attracting approximately 12.5 million viewers. While that drop off is understandable given the hype and speculation surrounding the season premiere, viewership has continued to trend downward ever since.
Episode four only saw a slight drop, as the Sunday viewers came in at around 11.4 million. This week, just under 11 million viewers tuned in for the show.
While The Walking Dead is still the most-watched series on Sunday nights, it’s decline is troublesome. The last time ratings dropped below 11 million was in season three. The show has seen steady numbers for the last three seasons, but fans are beginning to tune out.
The following chart, via Wikipedia, illustrates the aforementioned downtrend.
To be fair, the show is still pulling in monster numbers, but there does seem to be a growing consensus among some fans that the current season isn’t up to snuff with previous efforts. Last week’s episode aside, I personally think the show is as strong as ever. Not only are we slowly but surely building up to what will undoubtedly be a can’t-miss showdown between Rick and Neegan, it’s also fascinating to see how Rick and co. adjust to a world where they’re no longer calling the shots, no longer controlling their own destiny.
What’s more, The Walking Dead is no stranger to dragging a bit mid-season. Season 5, for example, had a few snoozers towards the back half of the season before things finally picked up over the last few episodes. All that to say this: viewership may be the lowest we’ve seen since 2012, but it stands to reason that it’s just at temporary lull before fans get back on board as season 7 kicks into full gear.