‘The Walking Dead’ Season 6 Premiere: The Ratings Are In, Is It Time For A Change?

After Sunday’s season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead, the viewership results are starting to trickle. And, according to statistics, this was not the best season opener for the show. For the first time ever, The Walking Dead has not bettered it previous season’s premiere offering.

In 2014, AMC’s The Walking Dead broke it’s own personal best record with 17.3 million viewers tuning in to see the season 5 premiere. Eleven million of those viewers were in the network-preferred adults aged 18-49 bracket, according to Entertainment Weekly in an article released last year on that particular premiere event for The Walking Dead. This gave Episode 1 (entitled “Conquer”) a rating of 8.65.

However, this year, it seems the numbers have finally started to slide for The Walking Dead. According to the latest figures released by Entertainment Weekly, only 14.6 million total viewers tuned in for the season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead (Episode 1, entitled “First Time Again”). This also gave the show a 7.43 rating in the adults aged 18-49 bracket.

While figures for Live + 3 will not be released until Friday, this still places the season 6 premiere below the previous season’s efforts. Some suggest the show’s 90-minute premiere may have turned some viewers off watching, something that could be rectified with the Live + 3 figures as people watch Episode 1 of The Walking Dead at their own convenience.

Walkers - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

But it’s not all doom and gloom for The Walking Dead. 14.6 million viewers is still a very solid number and there is likely no one at AMC worrying yet about this slip in ratings. Plus, the season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead also managed to beat any other program on Sunday, October 11 — even NBC’s “Sunday Night Football according to Variety. The Walking Dead also did well on social media platforms. On Twitter, The Walking Dead was mentioned in 956,480 tweets. Variety estimated this would potentially generate 3.6 billion impressions via 825,000 unique users. They also reported that it was the number one show on Facebook on Sunday night.

Some media outlets are starting to suggest the golden era for The Walking Dead may be coming to a close. Although, for others, the change in direction on Sunday night with the time hopping and black and white elements were a refreshing change to a show that has a very standard format, i.e. Rick’s group finds danger, then they escape only to find more danger ahead. Grantland even suggests the show — being the massive juggernaut that it is — should branch out into completely uncharted territory. Some of their suggestions included following the footsteps of another apocalyptic show, The Last Man on Earth, and bringing episodes to air that see things in another perspective, such as an episode seen from the prospective of a dog, or what would happen if major characters considered never returning after going on a supply run.

Fear The Walking Dead promo pic sunglasses

All these are great ideas that, really, could be explored within the realms of The Walking Dead universe. However, some fans wonder if perhaps AMC is using the companion series, Fear The Walking Dead, to charter unexplored territory such as the suggestions Grandland gave. After all, this show will be taking its cast to sea in season 2 as well as including a wealthy character that could possibly put them into The Last Man on Earth territory. Plus, considering Fear does not have a comic book series to draw material from, it really does have a clean slate to work with, whereas The Walking Dead could potentially alienate comic book fans if the show deviated too far from its source material.

Season 6 of The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Episode 2 (entitled “JSS”) on Sunday, October 18, 2015.

What did you think of Episode 1 of The Walking Dead’s sixth season? Do you think they should branch out into new territory — plot-wise — or are you happy with the current format? Let us know by commenting below!

[Image credits: AMC / Gene Page]