The Walking Dead finally aired its Season 10 finale episode on Sunday night, when Episode 10x16's delay came to an end to also kick off a new series in the form of The Walking Dead: World Beyond. It also aired one week ahead of the Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 premiere. However, after six months of waiting, the live viewership numbers were at an all time low for The Walking Dead, an AMC zombie series which has been airing for a decade now. Episode 10x16 set a live ratings record for The Walking Dead but on the wrong side of the scale, taking the title as the lowest rated episode of the series.
The Walking Dead Episode 10x16, A Certain Doom was watched by 2.7 million live viewers , the lowest of any season 10 episode, and the series as a whole. The previous low had been 2.9 million live viewers for an episode which aired in March of 2020. Episode 10x16 earned a .87 rating in the key 18-49 demo.
There are several factors contributing to the ratings drop. Fatigue from fans a decade into the zombie series is undoubtedly one of them as it is unlikely the show will gain very many new viewers as it is officially headed to a true conclusion after 30 more total episodes, culminating in a Season 11 and series finale in the Fall of 2022. However, AMC also launched its AMC Premiere streaming service which grants its subscribers access to The Walking Dead two full days ahead of its airing. AMC does not release the numbers for their subscriptions which leads some to believe they might not be stellar but, if social media chatter throughout the weekend was any indication, there are plenty of TWD fans tuning into the series ahead of its Sunday night cable broadcast.
The marketing for Episode 10x16 was also in uncharted territory. The episode was scheduled to air back in April as the story of the show's tenth season built a healthy buzz and momentum. Six months later, an episode which felt like a bit of an epilogue to the Whisperer War story, was dropped individually with no other new episodes of The Walking Dead airing in the weeks before or after its premiere.
"All the actors, man, they killed it on that episode," executive producer and director of Episode 10x16 Greg Nicotero told ComicBook.com in an interview on Friday. "Seth [Gilliam] was amazing. Melissa was amazing. Cassady [McClincy] was amazing. Ryan [Hurst], Norman, Jeffrey [Dean Morgan], Cailey [Fleming]. That moment where they're in the zombie air lock that I like to call it and Cailey connects with Daryl and they put their hands up together. It's just such a great... There's a lot of emotion in the episode. Josh McDermitt, I think did a great... They all did a great job. A lot of people don't realize it, by the time you get to episode 16, man, we had the shit kicked out of us. We're working our butts off and everybody's been pouring 100% of themselves into the show and it's always a challenge. And I feel like this finale... Every single actor that has seen the episode has called me and been like, 'This is f-cking amazing, man. What a great episode.' I really feel like we left ourselves perfectly primed and positioned for the show to continue. I couldn't be more grateful to the cast and the crew for keeping their level of commitment show after show after so long. Just really, really dialed in."
The Walking Dead: World Beyond airs Sundays at 10pm ET, following new episodes of Fear the Walking Dead at 9pm ET. The Walking Dead will return for 6 more episodes in Season 10 in the spring. The 11th and final season of The Walking Dead will begin airing in the Fall of 2021.