‘The Walking Dead’ Ratings Continue Dropping, Lowest in Years


The Walking Dead has been spiraling downward in the ratings consistently since the Season 7 premiere, reaching its lowest point in years. Why do fans keep tuning out?

First of all, I’ll go ahead and clarify that The Walking Dead is far and away the hottest show on television. Even with dropping ratings, it’s pulling in millions and millions more viewers than its closest competitors. But if the trend downward still isn’t stopping, then eventually it’s going to be in some trouble.

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The ratings stunt leading into Season 7 was working. Negan killing two main characters led to 17 million viewers watching the show. However, the follow-up episode saw a very sharp decline, gathering 12.5 million. Episodes 3 and 4 pulled in 11.72 and 11.4 million, respectively.

MoviePilot is now reporting that the fifth episode, the newest one, is down to 11 million. This puts it in the same ballpark of Season 3, episode 15— which had 10.99 million viewers. In other words, the ratings for The Walking Dead are the lowest they’ve been since 2013. At least the free fall isn’t happening as fast as between episodes 1 and 2, but losing more and more per episode isn’t a good sign.

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So, why is it that people are quitting the show? The MoviePilot article suggests that it may be because each episode since the premiere hasn’t been nearly as action-packed. Although that is true, the steepest drop came immediately after episode 1 when no one knew how the rest of Season 7 would be. For me, that suggests that although so many people were watching the premiere, a lot of them were unhappy with it.

But why? My own theory is that the cliffhanger resolution really burned people out. Killing off Glenn might not have been the right choice. For one, everybody saw it coming, even non-comic readers. Every social media comments section and news article on the premiere made sure to point out that’s how Glenn dies in the books. Seems like a cop out to create a big mystery about Negan’s victim, only to do exactly what Robert Kirkman did in the comics anyway.

As well, people were really attached to Steven Yeun. Seeing his eyeball popping out was ridiculous, proving that not everything in the comics translates well to the screen. Yeun was such an important part of the series that he shouldn’t have had to go out in such a cheesy and predictable fashion.

It was especially irritating for it to happen right after the dumpster fake-out death scene. What’s the point in saving Glenn from a ridiculously implausible scenario, only to literally kill him off a few episodes later?

Glenn’s fake death is much more heartbreaking than his real one.

At the time, I was suggesting that Glenn was better off actually dying in this scene. This death would have truly been a shocking and much more heartbreaking end to the character— with nobody ever really knowing what happened to him. Then there’d be even more intrigue heading into Negan’s introduction, as his comic victim would be already dead.

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So, my theory is that killing Glenn had devastating results on the ratings. They’ve literally been falling since his departure. For what it’s worth, though, I thought the way they did Abraham was well done. It just got deeply overshadowed by another death which shouldn’t have happened.