The Walking Dead may have seen a considerable ratings slide in its seventh season but the AMC series is still the king of cable and a powerhouse at its home network. Despite a growing conversation and fans showing the first signs of worry, The Walking Dead is not going anywhere.
Starting at 17 million viewers for its premiere episode of Season 7, The Walking Dead stirred up some controversy with the violent killing of Glenn and Abraham to emphasize the brutal introduction of Negan. From there, the show saw consecutive drops until its seventh episode final popped up from 10.40 million the week before to 10.48 million. If the plateau and slight rise as Season 7 continued indicated anything, it's that The Walking Dead found out how many truly loyal fans it has, and it's a wildly impressive amount parked in front of their television on Sunday nights.
While these numbers are the lowest since the show's third season, it is not time to worry whether or not The Walking Dead will have a ninth season and beyond.
Here's why: AMC renewed most of its series, even those that pale in ratings comparisons to The Walking Dead.
This is how Forbes broke it down:
The Walking Dead – Renewed for Season 8 with 11-12 million viewers in Season 7, down from series high of 17.2 million.
Into the Badlands – Renewed for Season 3 even dropping from 3.4 million viewers at the start of Season 2 to 1.2 in the latest episode.
Better Call Saul – Not renewed for Season 4 yet, but almost certainly will be if Vince Gilligan wills it. Averaging 1.5-1.8 million viewers this year, down from above two the past two seasons.
The Son – Renewed for Season 2 with 1.3-1.5 million viewers on average.
Turn – Renewed for a fourth and final season with about a 0.6 rating.
Halt and Catch Fire – Renewed for a fourth and final season with an almost unbelievable 0.3 average rating.
Then, there's The Walking Dead's sibling series which continues to grow despite having a fraction of the viewership...
Set in the same universe of The Walking Dead though bound to never crossover with it, Fear the Walking Dead hasn't captured the same appeal among fans of the original. The premiere episode nabbed over 10 million viewers but when the expectations of the show explaining how the world fell to the zombie apocalypse were met with pre-apocalypse family drama, fans jumped ship at an almost impressive rate.
Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead, which actually became a very compelling batch of episodes thanks to newcomer Danay Garcia's Luciana character and Cliff Curtis finally being allowed to let loose, earned a more modest 3.67 million and 3.05 million viewers in its two-for-one finale episode airing.
Still, Fear has been renewed for a fourth season in 2018 ahead of its Season 3 debut next month. Here's how Forbes put it:
Fear the Walking Dead – Renewed for Season 4 before Season 3 has even started. Renewal was based on Season 2 which ended with an almost series low of 3 million viewers.
AMC clearly has big plans for The Walking Dead's sibling series. Major creative changes have begun following the third season which is currently wrapping up production in Mexico, such as showrunner Dave Erickson leaving upon completion and The Walking Dead's showrunner Scott Gimple joining as an executive producer for Season 4.
The cast and crew involved with The Walking Dead also have no plans of slowing down. Speaking to ComicBook.com at PaleyFest earlier this year, Gimple revealed his long lasting plans for the AMC series which extend beyond where some fans may have originally expected.
"The way we plan ahead is to live in abject terror and anxiety," Gimple said. "It isn't about necessarily planning the 100th episode, it is sort of about planning the next 100 episodes. In a lot of ways, we've planned out this show into many seasons from now. The comic book affords us that and then the inspiration we get from the comic and things we want to see more of."
"What I'm hoping for the season premiere to be next year is the kick off of the next 100 episodes. The promise of more story and another future. Every eight episodes we try to reinvent ourselves and we're gonna try and do it again."
At a rate of 16 episodes per season, Episode 200 of The Walking Dead would land the series in its 15th season after launching a six-episode trial run in 2010, which we now know became a global phenomenon.
MORE WALKING DEAD: Negan's Backstory Reveals Completely Different Character / TWD Star Quits Social Media After Death Threats / TWD Showrunner Joins FTWD / TWD F-Take Clips With Rick And Daryl / Major Criticism Fixed For Season 8 / TWD Casting Two New Characters
The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October of 2017. The first trailer is expected to arrive at San Diego Comic Con in July. For complete coverage and insider info all off-season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.