Human flesh isn’t the only thing that’s deteriorating on AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Television’s most popular zombie series kicked off its ninth season on Sunday with just 6.1 million same-day viewers, which is about half the audience that took in the season eight premiere a year ago. It’s a sign that fans are jumping ship after the last couple of seasons failed to impress. According to Nielsen, the series notched a 2.5 rating, which is half of last year’s rating of a 5.0. To add insult to injury, it’s also the lowest-rated premiere ever for the show.
Despite the drop in ratings, it’s not an entirely unexpected turn of events. Last month, television powerhouse CBS noted a 40 percent decline in its under-50 audience for The Big Bang Theory. ABC’s The Good Doctor has also experienced a second-year decline, and veteran shows such as How to Get Away With Murder, The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, and American Horror Story recorded declines of at least 25 percent. It’s a trend that doesn’t receive any favors from streaming services, but The Walking Dead is also fighting the laws of television nature. it’s a show in its ninth season struggling to fight audience erosion.
The Walking Dead may be experiencing a ratings decline, but it’s numbers are still strong in comparison to other network shows. Among adults under 50, the season nine premiere will still rank among the top five openers this fall. The show might not be walking as well as it used to, but it’s certainly far from dead.