While the Season 8 finale of The Walking Dead led into a highly-anticipated, gimmick-laden episode of Fear the Walking Dead, the AMC zombie show couldn’t shake an issue that’s been plaguing it for years. The ratings for the show have been ebbing for years (though its executives aren’t overly concerned), but this finale was a nosedive.
A showdown between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and the Survivors versus the murderous Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his Saviors should’ve been the event of the TV-going world. But according to Deadline, it made for the lowest-rated finale since the show’s first.
Fear the Walking Dead got a nice bump in viewership thanks to its cast shakeup, but TWD’s “Wrath” only had 7.9m viewers, which, though nothing to sneeze at, is more than a 30 percent decrease from Season 7’s finale. To put that figure into some more context, it’s the same amount of people that watch this season’s midseason finale (which was the lowest figure since Season 2). It’s also only 2 million more than the Season 1 finale way back in 2010, though those figures were stellar at the time. TV has changed a lot since 2010 and the only show still putting up consistently impressive ratings is Game of Thrones.
But look, the zombie show’s been renewed for next season already and its story arc isn’t expected to be wrapped up in a year or even two, so TWD is very safe — especially as far as TV shows go. That goes along with the post-air viewing numbers, which have yet to be calculated and are what AMC banks much of its viewership on (DVRs, streaming, etc). But, with the shifting audience tides to FTWD, it’s easy to wonder why the brand isn’t similarly shifting its focus to a show with legs a little less zombified than its predecessor.