The Walking Dead, Episode 2 of Season 6, will air tonight, and many analysts are wondering if viewers are finally getting tired of AMC’s fictional zombie apocalypse. Last week’s Sunday night premiere of Episode 1 was down in ratings compared to the first episodes in 2014 and 2013, according to the Denver Post. While decreases in ratings are always a concern, AMC may not have a ton to worry about regarding their most popular show. These ratings were for viewers watching live, and not for delayed views.
While a massive 14.6 million viewers tuned in live to watch Episode 1, entitled “First Time Again,” this was 2.7 million viewers less than the 17.3 million who watched Rick and his gang take on the undead in the 2014 premiere of The Walking Dead. It was even 1.5 million less than the 16.1 million viewers who tuned in during the 2013 premiere. These are huge decreases in the amount of live viewers, but 14.6 million is still a lot, and many analysts believe it will bounce back.
According to the Denver Post, AMC noted that Episode 1 was going up against the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football, which contributed to the lower ratings. While this is somewhat believable since the Giants and 49ers have huge fan bases, The Walking Dead always goes up against Sunday Night Football on its premiere night and the first half of its season. There are always great and compelling games early in the year, and The Walking Dead has previously had more viewers when the NFL games were considered better match-ups.
Seeking Alpha notes that the episode was also 90 minutes long, which is an additional 30 minutes compared to the usual hour-long episodes. This is a very possible explanation, since dedicating an additional half hour to a Sunday night show could turn off viewers who have to get up early or finish other commitments for the upcoming week.
The Hollywood Reporter has added clarity, though. According to their Twitter page, the premiere actually hit 19.5 million viewers, after accounting for delayed viewings.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 16, 2015
This gives more credibility to AMC’s claim about the Sunday Night Football game and the additional 30 minutes. The Walking Dead does not appear to be losing its loyal zombie enthusiasts, but its viewers may be watching in different ways. With more and more people having access to DVR recording devices and better streaming options, there is less of an incentive to watch live. AMC is even promoting viewers to re-watch Episode 1 on their Twitter page.
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) October 17, 2015
So, will live viewership numbers increase for Episode 2 of The Walking Dead that is set to air tonight? Judging by the Sunday Night Football matchup of the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, the game may get out of hand much earlier than the match-up last week. This will allow viewers to turn off the game, and turn on The Walking Dead for the live broadcast. The episode is also only 60 minutes, compared to the 90-minute premiere. This gives those who have to get up early or finish tasks before the week starts a little extra time to be able to sit down and enjoy the episode.
While no spoilers will be discussed in this article, you can view the trailer for Episode 2, entitled “JSS,” on the official Twitter page of The Walking Dead.
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) October 12, 2015
After a mystery person set off a loud alarm, the group is scrambling back to Alexandria to protect their home. Will anyone fall victim to the huge group of zombies that is headed towards their community? Tune in tonight to AMC at 9 p.m. for Episode 2 of The Walking Dead.
[Image via Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for AMC]