"The Walking Dead" Season 9 Premiere Becomes Lowest-Rated In Series History

Walking Dead season 9 premiere loses nearly half its audience

It's a narrative that's starting to become an annual tradition, especially since last year's premiere saw the show's ratings reach a nadir in its own right that was eventually shared with last year's finale.

Robert Kirkman, the original creator and writer for The Walking Dead comic series, has announced that he has negotiated to acquire the license for the last few episodes of The Walking Dead game from the now-defunct Telltale Games.

Even zombies aren't immune from the ratings erosion virus spreading throughout TV land: The Walking Dead began its ninth season with just 6.1 million same-day viewers Sunday, losing roughly half the audience which showed up for the season-eight premiere a year ago.

According to Nielsen data, the AMC series drew a 2.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers. Do the math and that's an all time season opener low., down 7% from the Season 1 debut. In comparison, the season 8 premiere drew a 5.0 rating and 11.4 million viewers previous year. But this wasn't just bad news in terms of season premieres-Season 9's first episode is almost tied with the series' lowest rating for any episode in the key demo, with a Season 1 episode's 2.4 rating standing as the lowest rated episode thus far. Additionally, while its former status as top-rated series on Sundays was yielded to NBC's This is Us, it's still a close contest, since that show barely bested TWD with a 2.7 rating.

AMC points out that Sunday was particularly competitive with sports programming and they also made the season 9 premiere available on its AMC Premiere commercial-free option 24 hours before its linear airing. (AMC did not say how many people signed up, however.) But Walking Dead will continue to tower over all other series on cable. Thus, there are developments ahead with the potential to win back lapsed viewers.

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