‘The Walking Dead’ Mid-Season Premiere Ratings Dip – Is ‘TWD’ Headed For Cancellation?

The Walking Dead returned on February 14 with a highly anticipated Season 6 mid-season premiere, and fans are still talking about what an incredibly action-packed episode it was! Despite all the excitement, TWD numbers are down after fewer fans tuned in for the Season 6 mid-season premiere than for the same return in Season 5. Does that mean The Walking Dead is winding down as many series’ do during their sixth season?

TWD ended their growth streak last year, according to Variety. Until season 5, the hit AMC series grew their audience every half season, a phenomenon that clearly cemented The Walking Dead as the highest-rated series of its kind. Now, it’s starting to look like TWD is on a downslope as far as ratings go, but the good news is that they are still leading the time slot and still very much a success.

“No Way Out” scored a 6.8 rating among adults 18-49 with 13.7 million viewers tuning in for the Valentine’s Day return of The Walking Dead. This still makes TWD the highest-rated scripted series this year. While the numbers are impressive, that is a 12 percent decrease from the number of viewers tuning in for the Season 5 mid-season premiere last year. According to Entertainment Weekly, The Walking Dead isn’t pulling in record numbers for every episode like they did in the first four seasons of the show.

Robert Kirkman talked about the Season 6 mid-season premiere and the amount of action in the episode. The TWD creator is aware that many shows can die in Season 6 because viewers get bored and writers run out of story. No one wants to see that happen to their favorite AMC show, which is why the rest of Season 6 is not going to slow down, according to Kirkman.

“A lot of shows in their sixth seasons are either completely winding down or they’re struggling to find some kind of narrative transition to make the show about something else that can keep going,” Kirman told the Hollywood Reporter.

Kirkman went on to talk about how many shows “lose steam” in Season 6, and oftentimes, viewers stop watching due to many reasons, including getting bored as the show winds down or finding something new that catches their attention.

“Everyone involved is aware of the fact that these are dangerous waters and times when people can completely lose interest in a show,” Kirkman said. “We’re working harder than we’ve ever worked, pulling out all the stops and rolling our sleeves up to make this as exciting and as explosive as we possibly can.”

It has been said that if The Walking Dead follows the comic book series of the same name, there is enough material to keep the AMC series going for around 25 seasons. That would be pretty incredible for TWD fans and certainly many are hoping that their favorite show sticks around for that long or longer. Right now, writers of the AMC series are in a very interesting position, where they will have to keep the story interesting but not change it up too much in order for fans to continue watching.

Will Rick and his group’s ever-changing world be interesting enough for The Walking Dead fans to stay on board? The ratings say yes. Although there was a big enough drop in views to be mentioned, it’s nothing like shows that have come before it. Not to mention that many fans are still watching the mid-season premiere and catching up with their favorite show. There is even an argument that the rating drop might be related to the show returning on Valentine’s Day, a holiday that some viewers may have been busy with their significant others or their families rather than tuning in. Despite lower numbers that the previous year, it’s pretty clear that TWD still dominates the ratings and had a huge social media presence too, because fans were excited about the storyline that is unfolding.

We’ll see what the numbers say for Season 6, Episode 10, which doesn’t conflict with any holidays and is promised to have just as much action and excitement as the week before. Check out the trailer for The Walking Dead Season 6, Episode 10, “The Next World,” below and tell us what you think of this season.

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]