Some TV shows need to manufacture ridiculous plot devices to keep audiences tuning in during a sixth season, but not AMC's "The Walking Dead." The season six premiere, which was generally praised as one of the best episodes in series history, were incredibly high compared to other shows, but not by "Walking Dead" standards.
The episode, "First Time Again," drew in 14.6 million viewers. On its own, that's a very impressive number but it's down 16 percent from the season five premiere, which boasted 17.3 million viewers. In fact, the season six premiere was watched by less people than the season four premiere (16.1 million), season four finale (15.6), season five finale (15.7) and a handful of other season five episodes. Perhaps most important is the 16 percent drop in viewers in the advertisement coveted demographic of 18-49, according to TVLine.
It's typical for a series to see audience dips throughout a season's run, which is why "The Walking Dead" has gone to a mid-season finale format. But premieres like this are usually some of the highest rated episodes of the year, so "The Walking Dead" may see a decline in ratings if this first episode is a sign of things to come.
Could the show's companion series "Fear The Walking Dead" have satiated our appetite for zombies somewhat, thus, producing less watchers? Perhaps. But 14.6 million is still a great number, especially when you remember that "The Walking Dead" is competing against Sunday Night Football. In addition, On Demand and DVR-scores, once factored in, should add another million or two to the total number.
There's no chance that "The Walking Dead" will be in danger anytime soon, but the lower-than-expected ratings for the premiere bare monitoring throughout the year.