The Walking Dead just suffered its lowest ratings since way back in Season 3. Variety reports that the Season 8 premiere, which also marked the 100th episode, witnessed a 40 percent drop from last season. Is AMC’s hit zombie drama headed for cancellation?
The Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead drew a little over 17 million viewers while this season’s opener only had an audience of a little over 11 million. Last season, of course, came on the heels of a huge cliffhanger, which explains some of the drop-off. Even still, the numbers for Season 8 are the third lowest in the show’s run, coming in ahead of the first two seasons.
That said, the numbers for The Walking Dead are still insanely high for a television show. In fact, compared to its counterparts on other networks, The Walking Dead is still well ahead of the game. For example, The Big Bang Theory’s Season 11 premiere on CBS received a rating of 4.1 compared to The Walking Dead’s 5.0 rating.
Even more worrisome, Game Spot reports that critics largely panned the Season 8 premiere and thought it fell short of a typical 100th episode. The good news is that this season still offers plenty of action to come, which may end up increasing the ratings as things progress. If things don’t change soon, however, future seasons may also run the risk of losing fans.
According to Comic Book, the drop in ratings coincides with a decline in the number of fans who illegally downloaded the opening act. The illegal downloads witnessed a drop of about 40 percent compared to last season. This may be good news for the legal department of AMC, but it is a clear indication that fewer people are interested in the show. It should be noted, however, that the network has initiated stricter piracy regulations for international distributors, which may have played a part in the low amount of illegal downloads.
AMC has not commented on the future of The Walking Dead or said whether or not the show is at risk of cancellation. Given how the show is still competitive in the market, it probably won’t be canceled anytime soon.
New episodes of The Walking Dead air Sunday nights on AMC, check out a preview below.
[Featured Image by AMC]