Coming off the rich hype of the cliffhanger resolving Season 7 premiere of last week, it was inevitable that The Walking Dead was going to take a ratings hit on Sunday. Add to that the zombie apocalypse blockbuster was fighting a massively watched World Series Game 5 that had Chicago on edge if the Cubs would survive to battle Cleveland another day and the nationally followed Dallas Cowboys vs. the Philadelphia Eagles going into OT on Sunday Night Football and you’ve got some tough terrain.
Still, with all that, the Greg Nicotero directed “The Well” episode of the series based on Robert Kirkman comics snagged 12.5 million total viewers with 7.8 million in the key demo of adults 18-49 for a 6.2 rating. That’s an impressive match demowise for what TWD pulled in for the “JSS” episode of October 18, 2015 – the second show of Season 6 of the AMC series. Noteworthy in today’s linear TV landscape, it is also a small rise of 2.4% in total audience from what the second episode of Season 6 snared.
Compared to the heavily marketed “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” season opener episode, the October 30 episode was down 26% among the 18-49. To put some more math on your plate, that’s 9% greater that the decline from episode one of Season 6 to episode two last year on a night that still saw SNF and baseball competition – but a lot less fierce with its being Game 2 of the National League Championship Series and not the World Series.
In final numbers, the World Series topped TWD by 8% in the demo with a 6.7 result. As for SNF, which TWD tackled last week, the Andrew Lincoln starring series was ahead by a scant 3% among adults 18-49. Which makes TWD the top show on cable and in a fight for the number #2 spot in both broadcast and cable – with the AMC show swinging that Lucille named bat of villain Negan.
The cabler is expected to release Live + 3 numbers for Sunday’s TWD later this week. If past episodes of the series are any indication, delayed viewing could prove the power of TWD’s fanbase on a night when a lot of America was on the field one way or another.