The Walking Dead saw a significant ratings slide on Sunday night, marking the lowest overall live ratings in six years.
Episode 8x05, The Big Scary U, had 7.85 million people watching for a 3.4 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. It's a half a point drop from Episode 8x04, which had 8.69 million viewers. A 3.4 rating is lowest score since the November 20, 2011 Episode 2x06, which was titled Secrets and earned a 3.1 with 6.08 million viewers. Still, The Walking Dead was the top rated for Sunday night.
In second place on Sunday night was AMC's Talking Dead which began later than usual following the extended Walking Dead. The Chris Hardwick-hosted recap had 2.6 million viewers and earned a 1.1 rating in the key demo.
Here are the number of viewers and ratings, week to week, for The Walking Dead's eighth season through five episodes:
- Episode 8x01: 11.44 million (5.0)
- Episode 8x02: 8.92 million (4.0)
- Episode 8x03: 8.52 million (3.8)
- Episode 8x04: 8.69 million (3.9)
- Episode 8x05: 7.85 million (3.4)
The reception of The Big Scary U was largely positive among fans and critics as Negan's backstory was revealed and a new, mysterious helicopter teased an intriguing storyline which may bring the show back to its world building core which helped hook fans early on. The buzz may reduce the chances at a continued slide in Episode 8x06.
In previous weeks, The Walking Dead had made strong gains in its Live+3 ratings as millions of fans are watching the AMC series post-air through DVR or streaming services.
(via TV by the Numbers)