The Walking Dead is far from dead, but it’s currently suffering from the worst live ratings in the history of the series.
Sunday’s episode entitled “Omega,” marked the show’s worst-ever performance in total viewers with 4.54 million people tuned in. That’s down 12 percent from last week and less than the previous low of 4.71 million for the show’s second episode in 2010.
Despite declining ratings over the last few years, the show continues to be one of the most popular programs on television right now and was recently renewed for its tenth season. The recent losses of fan favorite actors Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan were presumed to be a final death blow for the series, but ratings have been relatively well maintained throughout Season 9, shattering many critics expectations in the post-Lincoln era of the show. With the recent announcement of Danai Gurira’s Season 10 departure, it’s still unclear how this will impact the show moving into next season.
Fortunately, current show runner Angela Kang recognizes many of the shortcomings that left the series in its current state. Drawn out story lines with minimal payoff resulted in viewers abandoning the show en masse and Kang promises to keep things moving along.
In an interview with Insider, Kang stated she doesn’t take the show’s future for granted and that she doesn’t plan to hold back its best material for a later date, something former The Walking Dead show runner Scott Gimple has been criticized of in the past:
“It’s kind of just amazing that we’re going into the 10th season. It’s certainly a milestone that most people never get to cross and we’re so grateful to the fans around the world that have been on that journey with us. I’m approaching it as ‘I’ve got to make a great 10th season.’ I can’t assume anything… You can fall into a trap, just planning ahead and saving the great material for later. We always have to approach it as — we got to put the good material in now.”
That’s a refreshing perspective for many longtime fans of The Walking Dead. While the show still has a dedicated fan base, many can’t help but feel scorned about past obvious ploys to drag seasons out and increase ratings – e.g. the now infamous “fade to black” Negan introduction which left fans wondering who Negan killed for several months.