Lennie James’ Morgan may have declared that he doesn’t die in Episode 2 of the eighth season of The Walking Dead on Sunday, but the ratings for the zombie apocalypse series certainly took a body blow.
Facing the double threat of Sunday Night Football and an epic Game 5 of the World Series, The Walking Dead fell to a more than a five-year low in the key demo and total audience for its October 29 airing. However, before the competition is given too much credit, the AMC series based on Robert Kirkman’s comics faced the same competition for the comparable episode of Season 7, and that stayed steady with the second episode of Season 6 in 2015.
Down to the worst the series has done in adults 18-49 since back on March 11, 2012, this Sunday’s TWD delivered 4.0 rating in the key demo. With a total viewership of 8.92 million, “The Damned” episode was damned to fall below any episode since its Season 2 finale of March 18, 2012, which had an audience of 8.99 million.
While still the biggest non-sports show on Sundays, TWD has been hit by a steady stream of ratings declines since the series-high-matching double core cast killing in “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” Season 7 opener on October 23, 2016. It’s a trend AMC and the producers appeared to seek to counter by upping the action quota this year.
Compared to the Season 8 debut episode “Mercy” on October 22 this year, Sunday’s episode was down 22% in viewership and 20% among 18-49s. Taking the year-to-year look, the second episode of Season 8 of TWD tumbled 35% in the demo and 29% in total audience from the second episode of Season 7 of October 30, 2016.
With that, TWD EPs and AMC are surely hoping they are holding a ratings ace with the anticipated crossover sometime next year between the show and its Fear The Walking Dead spinoff. Offering few specifics, Kirkman announced the crossover to roars at this year’s New York Comic-Com earlier this month.