The Walking Dead had a lot of competition this past Sunday, with football in full swing and baseball wrapping up with the World Series. Despite it being a big night for sports, though, plenty of TV viewers still preferred to watch humans battle zombies rather than the Royals battle the Mets.
No doubt many Walking Dead fans tuned in hoping to find out whether or not a certain fan favorite character was turned into zombie chow. While they were not given the answer to that question, they were treated to what we considered the best episode of the season so far, a side story that acted as a follow-up to season 3’s “Clear.”
Deadline reports that this week’s episode drew 13.3 million total viewers and 8.6 million adults 18-49 for a 6.8 rating. That’s an increase of 1%, although it’s also a decrease of 8% from the episode that aired on November 2 of last year. In other words, it’s a slight dip when compared to season 5, but a strong turnout overall when considering what it was up against.
With the episode being 90 minutes long–a full 30 minutes longer than usual–it represented an extra commitment for those who tuned in. Add that to the fact that it deviated from the main plot of the series and went up against the final game of the World Series in addition to a bevy of football matches, and those numbers get more and more impressive. If anyone thought that the show’s ratings might start to slip, this week’s numbers show that they were most definitely mistaken.
It’s no surprise that The Walking Dead is doing as well as it is. So far season 6 is arguably as strong as the show has ever been, managing to largely avoid some of the slower points that have plagued previous seasons (the less said about season 2 the better) and instead provide plenty of the action, gore, and existential dread that viewers have come to expect. It has also officially been renewed for season 7, and with season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead also in the works, there’s no doubt AMC still has faith in its flagship series.
In the beginning, The Walking Dead had the potential to end up as a niche genre show appealing to the much-coveted 18-24 year-old male demographic but few others. Putting it up against a huge night of sports is a good way to prove that that has not turned out to be the case.
While shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad put AMC on the map from a critical perspective, The Walking Dead is the ratings juggernaut that will be putting money in its coffers for quite a while to come.
The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with “Now” @9pm on AMC.
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