There was a lot of shooting by an overwhelmed military, a lot of walkers (though they don’t call them that) on the streets of L.A., and the death of a core character Sunday on the Season 1 finale of The Walking Dead companion series. There was also 6.86 million total viewers and a 3.37 rating in the 18-49 demographic for the 9 PM season ender on AMC on what became a steady conclusion — at least ratingswise.
On a night that saw the New Orleans Saints beating the Dallas Cowboys in overtime on Sunday Night Football, the Season 5 debut of Homeland on Showtime and various other openings and endings on cable and the Big 4, the Fear The Walking Dead finale, which clocked in at 1 hour and 11 minutes, was up 2.3% from the 6.7 million who watched last week’s episode. That penultimate episode of the six-episode first season drew a 3.44 rating in 18-49s with 4.4 million in the demo watching — a difference on the flip side of 2%.
As it has been in past weeks, FearTWD was the top show both in total audience and the key demo Sunday.
While walker-to-walker comparisons lack a certain bite due to the changing nature of the TV landscape, last night’s finale also topped the Season 1 finale of The Walking Dead. The end of the first season of what became the zombie apocalypse blockbuster — it also had a 6-episode initial run — pulled in 5.97 million viewers and a then-record-breaking 3.0/8 rating among adults 18-49 on December 5, 2010.
All of that pales to the now-record-breaking debut of FearTWD on August 23. The freshman opener got 10.1 million viewers, with 6.3 million adults 18-49 for a 4.9 rating. FearTWD’s opener went up to 13.3 million total viewers and 8.5 million among the key demo in Live+3 ratings — a rise of up 32% in viewers and 36% in 18-49s over Live+SD results. Though the series dropped in the numbers in its run, the finale ranks by a scratch as the fourth-highest viewership of its sixth-episode season. Only the debut, the second episode (8.18 million ), and the September 13 third episode (7.19 million) performed better.
To put things in further perspective, the ratings-shattering Season 5 opener of The Walking Dead on October 12 last year had 17.3 million total viewers and 11 million 18-49s for an 8.7 rating in Live+SD. Oh yeah, Season 6 of TWD starts October 11, so expect that previous record to challenged at the very least. The 15-episode Season 2 of Fear The Walking Dead is set to air in 2016.