I haven’t watched AMC’s “The Walking Dead” since the third season, but that didn’t stop it from becoming a behemoth that topped 17 million viewers when the show returned for its seventh season. With numbers like that, it looked as if nothing was going to stand in the way of this undead freight train.
I haven’t really paid much attention to the numbers since then, or at all to be honest, but was shocked to see multiple reports of a sharp decline through the first five episodes of Season 7. We aren’t talking about one drop, but several, showing a steady decline week by week through last week’s Episode 5 (we’re still waiting on the numbers for last night’s episode).
Fans were already pissed off with the cliffhanger at the end of Season 6, threatening to abandon the show if the showrunner and AMC didn’t reveal who Negan had killed during the climactic finale. Even with the threats, the show premiered to 17 million viewers, the most in the show’s run. But then, things got bad. Here’s what EW reports:
Viewership dropped 25 percent for the season’s second episode down to 12.5 million. Such a drop may have been expected somewhat given all the hype around the premiere resolving last season’s fateful circle-of-victims cliffhanger. But then the third episode dropped too (11.7 million), and so did the fourth (11.4 million) and now the fifth (11 million), with TWD marking a low point for the show since 2013.
Here’s a graph of the decline, via Wikipedia.
Obviously, 11 million viewers is nothing to sneeze at, although it is the worst ratings “The Walking Dead” has posted since Season 3 in 2013. What happened to those viewers? Is this going to be an ongoing trend through the second half of Season 7? Where people genuinely angry about the demise of Glenn and Abraham? Did the show get too brutal for the general audience (is Negan a turnoff)? Or maybe people are finally catching on to the false promises and slow-burn drag-out style the show utilizes to get from action set piece to action set piece? Could this election have something to do with it (entertainment has always been affected by social situations)? Maybe viewers are just sick of it (I see so many negative reviews, week after week, and don’t understand why they continue to stick around if they hate it so much)?
My personal take here is that, if the decline continues, and it may, they need to think about tightening up the show much like FX did with “American Horror Story”. Retaining the 11 million needs to be a priority – but they’ve already filmed the rest of the seventh season, which AMC must be praying doesn’t continue to push away their regular viewers. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and report back if it changes.
— CHEROKEE (@cherokeeaw17) October 24, 2016