‘Walking Dead’ Boss Wants Fans to Watch His Show ‘Live’ – and It’s Not for the Ratings

Fans “can’t all pile in to the same house, but I’d love for them all to watch it at the same time,” Scott Gimple tells TheWrap

“Walking Dead” fans: if you’ve got a watch party planned for Sunday night’s Season 8 finale, you’re helping to make Scott Gimple’s day.

The “Walking Dead” boss told TheWrap in an interview ahead of the finale that he hopes fans make watching the show a chance to “share an experience.”

People are watching ‘The Walking Dead’ in a variety of ways now,” he said. “But it is exciting that it is still at the top of live television and that people are sharing a live experience.”

Gimple recognized that the TV landscape looks a lot different than it did when the show started in 2010, and noted that although “Walking Dead” ratings are down, “ratings across television have gone down. And that people are watching TV in a lot of different ways.”

In other words, it’s easy to skip watching your favorite show on cable or network TV to stream it later. But by not tuning in to the live broadcast, viewers can miss out on the shared experience of those OMG moments “TWD” is known for. 

“For a show that started in 2010, the entire world has changed over those 8 years,” Gimple added. “If ‘The Walking Dead’ was a person and just sort of, like, zapped into 2018, they wouldn’t recognize the world anymore. So it’s absolutely fair play to bring up that the ratings have gone down on ‘Walking Dead,’ but it is a little silly not to bring up the entirety of television.”

Despite ratings being down from the show’s height in Season 5 — the premiere drew 17.3 million — “The Walking Dead” still pulls relatively big numbers every week. The Season 8 premiere drew 11.4 million zombie fans.

“I like hearing about high ratings of any TV show nowadays just because I like the idea of people watching it together, and of people having an experience together,” Gimple said. “And I want to continue to work on ways to tell stories that encourages people to watch it all on the same night. [Fans] can’t all pile in to the same house, but I’d love for them all to watch it at the same time and share an experience.”

The “Dead” universe’s chief content officer said that the myriad ways viewers tune into “The Walking Dead” and other shows is both a “challenge” and an “opportunity.”

There’s more TV being made than ever, there’s probably more people watching TV than ever worldwide. It’s just technology has given us the opportunity to do it in a variety of ways,” Gimple said. 

“The Walking Dead” Season 8 finale airs on AMC Sunday, April 15 at 9/8 c.