The much hyped unveiling of the coming death of a core character on the fall finale of The Walking Dead on Sunday was a rare true shocker. But it was not enough to stem the ratings bleeding the zombie apocalypse has suffered this season.
Up a mere 2% from last week, the last TWD of 2017 and the Season 8 fall finale was the lowest-rated fall finale to date for the AMC series among the vital 18-49 demographic. The monologue-heavy “How Its Gotta Be” episode revealed that Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) had been bitten by a walker, and the actor who had been with the show since the beginning would be exiting after the first episode of 2018.
Despite all that, Sunday’s 90-minute episode snagged a 3.36 among adults 18-49 and dipped 4% below the previous fall finale low of November 27, 2011. That Season 2 “Pretty Much Dead Already” episode was actually the first fall finale of TWD as Season 1 only ran six episodes and ended on December 5, 2010. The Season 1 “TS-19” finale drew a 3.0 rating in the demo and 5.97 million viewers.
Year-to-year, the Season 8 TWD fall finale was down a harsh 34% from the Season 7 “Swear” episode of November 27, 2016. To add a bit of perspective, that Season 7 fall finale was the worst TWD had done since its Season 2 fall finale. To add further perspective, down from the Season 8 average, this year’s fall finale was the second-lowest demo result of Season 8 so far and the third least watched.
Viewershipwise, this year’s fall finale pulled in an audience of 7.9 million. That’s up 5% from the December 3 “Time for After” episode but down 25% from the Season 7 midseason ender. While topping the 6.62 million who watched the Season 2 fall finale in total sets of eyeballs, the Season 8 midseason ender fell 24% from the Season 3 fall finale of November 25, 2012. That “Made To Suffer” episode held the second-least-watched fall finale title.
Undoubtedly hoping to haul in the ratings and audience with Carl’s fatal farewell, Season 8 of The Walking Dead is back on February 25, 2018.