Maybe it’s the fact that The Walking Dead‘s Season 7 finale aired on the same night as other high profile TV events (the Country Music Awards, the series finales of Big Little Lies and Black Sails, the return of WestleMania), but its live numbers weren’t what the AMC series is used to getting. And while we don’t have the DVR numbers in yet, regardless, the once famous ratings juggernaut definitely hit a major low Sunday night.
Let’s be clear, The Walking Dead is still pulling in a ton of viewers. The 90-minute “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life” finale raked in 11.3 million viewers (with 7.1 of those in the key 18-49 demographic) and a ratings share of 5.9, though it’s still not what the show is used to doing. Those numbers are down 20% from the Season 6 finale, which itself was down significantly from the show’s biggest ratings high — the Season 5 finale. Right now, the Season 7 finale’s ratings are coming in just after Seasons 1 and 2, which suggests a bell curve might be in effect here.
That begs the question: are viewers giving up on the series? I have personally seen the anguish on fans faces when they are told (because they haven’t read the comics) that Negan is going to be around for a long, long time.
Most likely, anyway. The show is certainly free to change things up, and it has done so here and there along the way. But the story has also morphed from being about humans vs zombies to being about humans vs worse, increasingly psychopathic humans that has turned the show into a massive torture fest. That’s not exactly what folks tuned in for initially, even though that’s the way the comics go. And even though there is still a lot of love for the main characters, that might not be enough to keep droves of viewers invested for seasons more to come (the show is currently renewed through Season 8).