For many fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Season 7 has been a long, drawn out process that has been gut-wrenching at times and slow in other parts. The Season 7 finale has, however, brought a welcome return to the show’s previous glory. But, how did it rate compared to other Walking Dead finales?
SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses the Season 7 finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Please proceed with caution if you have not viewed this episode yet and wish to avoid spoilers.
The Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead ended on a cliffhanger that left many fans mad, knowing they would have to wait until the Season 7 premiere to find out who the new resident bad guy, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), had bashed to death with his barb-wired bat, Lucille. As a result of this, even though fans were unhappy with the long wait, 17 million Walking Dead fans still tuned in for the first episode of Season 7 according to Variety. This saw a slight rise in viewership from the previous season but it was not the highest rating season premiere, that honor goes to the Season 5 premiere which saw 17.29 million fans tune in.
Comic book fans of The Walking Dead were likely eager to tune into the Season 7 finale to find whether Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) would suffer the same fate as her comic book counterpart character, Holly. For others, who are a fan of the television series alone, it was probably the hope that Negan would be killed that had them tuning into the Season 7 finale. But this seemed not enough to get fans flocking to the show on Sunday night like in previous finales.
Nielsen data, released on Tuesday, shows that the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead had the lowest ratings since the Season 2 finale. And, if you remember back that far, Season 2 was the much maligned season set on Hershel’s farm and is generally considered the least favorite Walking Dead season among fans.
11.3 million Walking Dead fans tuned in to see the Season 7 finale, down from the 17 million who chose to watch the Season 7 premiere. That is an approximate 33 percent decline in viewership over the season. Although, this decline was already becoming apparent by the mid-season finale when 15.9 million viewers tuned in.
While 11.3 million is a sharp decline from the Season 7 premiere, it is not the worst rating season finale ever for The Walking Dead. Season 1 takes out that honor, with only 5.97 million viewers watching. However, considering the show premiered with 5.35 million viewers, and only six episodes to improve upon things, that season finale still holds its own, especially considering, by the Season 2 premiere, it had managed to amass 2 million more viewers.
By the Season 2 finale, approximately 9 million viewers tuned in to watch. However, even that rating, while poor for The Walking Dead, is still a good proportion of viewers by anyone’s standards. And the Season 7 finale is still two million viewers above that.
Fans are also already considering the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead the gem within the entire season, so perhaps it will be enough to draw more viewers in for the Season 8 premiere which will likely see the all out war between Rick and Negan move into full swing.
As far as AMC and the creators of The Walking Dead, it seems this drop in viewership is nothing they are overly concerned about. As NME points out, Scott Gimple told fans at the recent PaleyFest they still wanted to run to 20 seasons of The Walking Dead.
“We are trying to do 20 years. The [Walking Dead] comic has certainly done it, and I look forward to every issue. The Simpsons has been on 26, 27 years, so that’s a challenge — so OK, challenge accepted. Done.”
What did you think of the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead? Will you be tuning into Season 8? Let us know by commenting below.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC with Season 8 later in 2017.
[Featured Image by Gene Page/AMC]