The Walking Dead Slumps to Lowest Rated Premiere Ever

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Two beloved series regulars are leaving The Walking Dead behind, and it appears that viewers are doing the same. 

The Walking Dead Season 9 got underway Sunday night with 6.1 million total viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49. 

What Did You SAY? - The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 1

While those figures are solid in today's climate, they are down considerably from the 11.4 million viewers who tuned into The Walking Dead Season 8's premiere a year ago. 

What's more, last season's premiere had a 5.0 rating, meaning it has dropped 50 percent in the adult demo year-to-year. 

That's a worrying drop, but the 2.5 rating is still the highest-rated cable series debut of the season in the demo. 

The Walking Dead Poster for Season 9

The Walking Dead Season 9 is losing Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan, so this is not exactly a great start given that some fans generally tune out once their favorite character is gone. 

For comparison purposes, here is how the previous The Walking Dead premieres rated in the demo:

  • The Walking Dead Season 8 - 5.0 rating

Some of the erosion could be attributed to AMC making the episode available 24 hours early to subscribers of AMC Premiere. 

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The true test for the show will be whether it holds up as the season continues or if it's going to continue to lose viewers on a weekly basis. 

There have been changes at the wheel for The Walking Dead's ninth season with Angela Kang being promoted to Executive Producer. 

The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 1 picked up 18 months after the events of The Walking Dead Season 8, but there was still clear division among the characters. 

What are your thoughts on the ratings?

Have you jumped ship, or do you just not watch the show live anymore? TV is wonderful nowadays. There are several different ways to watch your favorite shows without actually watching them live. 

Hit the comments!

The Walking Dead continues Sunday on AMC. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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The Walking Dead Quotes

You can breathe. You can blink. You can cry. Hell, they're all gonna be doing that.


When you care about people, getting hurt is kind of a part of the package.