The dreaded Whisperers have truly arrived on The Walking Dead, but the scariest villains from the comics couldn’t make much ratings noise against the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Music’s biggest night hit its lowest result ever among adults 18-49, but the zombie apocalypse drama also tumbled to midseason-return lows.

While the Greg Nicotero-directed “Adaptation” episode started putting the horror back into the AMC series based on Robert Kirkman’s comics, the ratings decline that has plagued TWD the past few years seems to have become the norm – as is the case in the majority of TV (as the Grammys could tell you).

Back for the first time since November 25, the ninth episode of the ninth season of TWD was watched by an audience of 5.2 million, with 2.6 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo good for a 2.0 rating. Basically steady for the Season 9 midseason finale of last fall in both categories, the midseason return fell 44% from the Season 8 midseason return of February 25, 2018.

Dominated by the anticipated death of the Chandler Riggs-portrayed Carl Grimes, that midseason return did not face the Grammys. However, the “Honor” episode did take on and beat the closing ceremonies of the Winter Games.

Viewershipwise, The Walking Dead’s Season 9 midseason Sunday return dropped 40% from its Season 8 equivalent. Before this week, the previous TWD midseason return low was the 8.1 million who tuned in for the Season 2 return on February 12, 2012.

Yet, in an ever-changing TV landscape, all is not ratings doom and gloom for AMC’s big kahuna. TWD is still the top-rated show on cable, and despite falling short of the Grammys among the 18-49 deme this year, TWD remains the second highest-rated series on all of TV after NBC’s This Is Us.