The Walking Dead's ratings continue to drop lower and lower. At a certain point, all that will be left are the most dedicated viewers - and that may not be far off. It's no secret that The Walking Dead has spent the majority of its AMC run as the highest-rated scripted series on TV, and that's even when the big four broadcast networks are figured in. Unfortunately, it's also no secret that TWD's ratings have been steadily dropping the last few years, and that trend has shown no signs of abating during Season 8.
At this point, those behind The Walking Dead claim to not be sweating the declining ratings too much, and that's somewhat understandable. When one starts from such a high perch, there is a long way to fall before one reaches the bottom. Unfortunately, TWD's ratings cushion won't last forever, and many fans have already begun to wonder just how many more seasons the apocalyptic series has left in its shambling, undead tank.
For reference, The Walking Dead reached its ratings peak during Season 5, averaging a towering 7.4 rating in the prized 18-49 viewer demographic. The highest rated episode of Season 5 - and the series as a whole to date - was the premiere, which scored an 8.7. Season 6 saw a 12 percent drop in the overall average rating, scoring a 6.5, with its highest-rated episode clocking in at a 7.4.
The end of Season 6 would end up marking a big turning point for The Walking Dead, going out on the huge cliffhanger of who Negan would kill with Lucille. As much complaining as that cliffhanger drew, the ratings for TWD's Season 7 premiere were great, coming in at an 8.4. Unfortunately, the numbers post-Glenn and Abraham have been steadily falling, with only one more Season 7 episode coming in above a 6.0. Season 7 as a whole saw a nearly 17 percent drop from Season 6, averaging a 5.4.
Season 8 is where things have gotten really concerning for The Walking Dead's future. Even the premiere barely topped a 5.0, and none of the subsequent episodes have come in above a 4.0. To date, TWD Season 8 has experienced a whopping 30 percent drop in the average rating, earning a 3.8. Things aren't turning around either - the mid-season premiere earned an unexpectedly low 3.6. In other words, The Walking Dead's numbers have almost fallen back down to earth. Assuming the ratings for the remainder of Season 8 don't drastically improve, The Walking Dead will likely end up averaging around a 3.5 or worse.
If Season 9 drops even a further 20 percent overall - which seems very likely at this juncture - The Walking Dead's numbers will fall to a 3.0 average, and that's probably underestimating how big a hit Season 9 will take, based on the level of drop in Season 8. If Season 9 drops 30 percent overall, TWD hits a 2.7 average. Assuming TWD's ratings continue to drop at a rate of at least 30 percent per season, Season 10 will fall below 2.0, and season 11 will fall below a 1.5. The biggest diehards will likely ride out the story to the end, but by 2021, it'll be about time to turn out the lights, because The Walking Dead's party will be basically over. That is unless AMC chooses to ride The Walking Dead train until the wheels truly fall off, and the 1.0 threshold is likely broken by sometime in 2022.
The Walking Dead season 8 continues next Sunday with ‘The Lost and the Plunderers’ at 9pm/10c on AMC.