Depending on how you spin it, “The Walking Dead” is either in dire straights right now or has been holding impressively steady in the ratings post-Rick Grimes. After all, the show’s ratings are indeed *considerably* lower than they once were, but the series has nevertheless been holding strong – to the surprise of many – in the weeks since Grimes was written out.
It’s nice to note that this past Sunday night’s Greg Nicotero-directed “Adaptation” pulled in 5.2 million total viewers (2.6 million in the 18-49 demo), which is slightly up from the 5.1 million viewers who tuned in to watch Season 9’s big mid-season finale in November.
Mind you, finales and premieres are inherently more must-watch than other episodes, but it’s good news that the show’s return this past Sunday night didn’t shed any viewers; the compelling, scary introduction of the Whisperers surely played a big role. It’s also worth noting that Andrew Lincoln’s departure hasn’t had a significant impact on the show’s ratings, suggesting that the series absolutely can (and surely will) continue without its longtime central character; many had predicted that Lincoln’s exit would be the final nail in the coffin.
For the sake of comparison, here are the episode-by-episode numbers for Season 9:
- Episode 9.1 – 6.08 million
- Episode 9.2 – 4.95 million
- Episode 9.3 – 5.04 million
- Episode 9.4 – 5.10 million
- Episode 9.5 *Rick’s Final Episode* – 5.41 million
- Episode 9.6 – 5.4 million
- Episode 9.7 – 4.8 million
- Episode 9.8 *Mid-Season Finale* – 5.1 million
- Episode 9.9 *Mid-Season Premiere* – 5.2 million
Again, it’s all how you spin it. We could point out that 5.2 million viewers is a record low for a “Walking Dead” mid-season return (Season 8’s mid-season premiere, to compare, drew in 8.28 million total viewers), or that over 15 million people were once watching the show, but at the same time, holding steady at 5 million viewers/week is nothing to scoff at.
For now, “The Walking Dead” still remains the top show on cable.