It seems to be the same story every year, but “The Walking Dead” returned for its tenth season on Sunday down significantly in the Live+Same Day ratings.
The show fell 34% in total viewers from its season 9 premiere to 4 million, and declined 42% among adults 18-49 to a 1.4 rating, as well as 35% in AMC’s preferred 25-54 demographic. The previous series lows in the first two metrics were delivered by the penultimate episode of season 9, which was watched by 4.15 million total viewers and posted a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo.
However, that decline technically isn’t as steep as for last year’s premiere, which was down approximately 50% in the key demo and 47% in total viewers compared to the Season 8 opener.
It’s worth noting that the premiere was made available a full week in advance for AMC Premiere subscribers (which likely contributed a little to the low numbers as it did last year), and that the season 10 opener’s decline is in line with some of the other most popular biggest shows on broadcast and cable. According to AMC, last season’s premiere drove the single highest day of new sign-ups in the history of AMC Premiere, the network’s commercial-free upgrade option.
The show was recently renewed for an eleventh outing, and with one of its leads Danai Gurira leaving after this season, it seems unlikely that “The Walking Dead” will resuscitate its ratings and viewership highs of old. However, the show still remains one of the highest rated on ad-supported cable.