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Even with a boost from Rick's exit, The Walking Dead may continue to struggle with ratings

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Nov 6, 2018, 12:01 PM EST

On Sunday, The Walking Dead said goodbye to Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, the show's central protragonist since its inception in 2010.

Thanks to plenty of promotion that billed the last five episodes of Season 9 as Rick's last hurrah (so-to-speak) on the post-apocalyptic zombie drama, the ratings for "What Comes After" were pretty decent — an estimated 5.4 million people tuned in, a 6 percent rise in viewership from the previous episode ("The Obliged") reports Deadline. It was also the best turnout for the series this season, aside from the Season 9 premiere on Oct. 7, which brought in around 6 million audience members. 

That being said, the overall numbers this season have been pretty disappointing across the board when compared to previous seasons. For example, the Season 8 premiere was able to draw in over 11 million viewers in the fall of 2017. To put things into even greater context, Season 9 thus far has done nothing but set records for low ratings

Sadly, this might continue to be the case, especially after the departure of Rick and Lauren Cohan's Maggie Greene. We can safely assume that the ratings boost for Lincoln's final episode was a direct result of fans wanting to see how exactly he will leave the show. Without him there (and no more mystery behind it), the ratings may very well continue to dip, but maybe the first appearance of the Whisperers can keep things afloat. 

But don't worry, three Rick movies are in the works and a Maggie project is also within the realm of possibility.