The Walking Dead season 8

The Walking Dead's twisty finale can't save its dwindling ratings

Contributed by
Dec 12, 2017

After a Walking Dead midseason finale that had long been promised to shake up the faltering zombie show, episode eight of Season 8's viewership continued a decline in viewership. Not even the promise of a gruesome death, daring rescue, or other plot-upheaving spoiler that we refuse to confirm or deny could help the show from its ratings valley.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, while the partial finale didn’t quite hit a season low, it still “brought in 25 percent fewer viewers than the comparable episode last fall.”

That boils down to about 7.9 million viewers, which is 3.4 percent of its target demographic that was watching TV that watched the episode as it was broadcast. That may seem like a lot of people, but those are the lowest numbers of one of the series’ finales of any kind since way back in 2011. That’s Season 2.

After such a promising build-up to the spoilertastic twist, this is just the latest disappointment the show has faced. Its premiere hit a five year low this season, its last episode had similarly dismal turnout, and reviews have been just as spotty as its fanbase’s attention.

While there’s some speculation that the draw of the spoiler will increase the episode’s viewership after the fact, advertisers aren’t as keen on non-live ratings and so neither are the networks.

For a time, it seemed like nothing could ever slow down The Walking Dead, but in its eighth year, the show is finally starting to look as mortal as its band of plucky survivors. Despite all that, the show is still a ratings hit — just no longer a ratings smash.