'The Walking Dead' Producer Explains Why Ratings Decline Is Misleading

The Walking Dead executive producer David Alpert credits the show's recent ratings slide to a loss of urgency to watch programs live as they air.

Alpert, CEO of Skybound, opened up about the subject while speaking to Variety, naming a number of factors which are affecting all television programs but sourcing an abundance of content and availability as the reason for ratings declines across television. "I think overall we're seeing increased competition, not just from television and not just from streaming services, but you get content everywhere," Alpert said. "The idea that people watch things super live, that need to view on the same night and we're measuring ratings like a live rating, I feel like it's a little be anachronistic to be like, 'Oh, you're not holding the same ratings that you were.'"

In fact, Alpert believes many new fans of The Walking Dead are watching the show's earliest seasons despite the live version of the show cruising through its eighth season. "I still get people coming up to me at conventions talking about, they're in the middle of Season 6," Alpert said. "They can't believe what's going on. I still get people coming up to me like, 'You killed Beth? You killed Beth? What's the matter with you?' And I'm like, 'Are you in Season 5?' and they're like, 'Yeah, I'm in Season 5!'"

In the end, Alpert stands by The Walking Dead and its future, offering not one drop of worry regarding the slide in ratings. "I don't think in any way the brand has lost its relevance," Alpert said. "I think in general we're just seeing a decline in urgency across all media to consume something at a specific time."


Despite any ratings decline, The Walking Dead remained the top-rated show on cable in live+7 totals, adding an extra credence to Alpert's comments.

The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.