‘Walking Dead’ Season Finale Ratings Dip From Last Year’s High

AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama was down despite introducing new villain Negan

Last Updated: April 5, 2016 @ 9:47 AM

“The Walking Dead” Season 6 finale was a monster ratings success, but not quite good enough to beat the show’s Season 5 finale record.

Sunday’s episode of the zombie apocalypse drama pulled in an average of 14.2 million viewers and a 6.9 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

The Season 5 finale in March 2015 managed a massive 15.8 million viewers and an 8.2 rating, meaning the show was down around 10 percent in viewers and 15 percent in the demo. This year’s finale was also up against the Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS, but that broadcast only drew 11.2 million viewers and a 2.3 rating.

Millions no doubt tuned in to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan make his debut as new villain Negan on the AMC series. Unfortunately, fans were less than happy about the cliffhanger ending, calling it “unnecessary” and a “let down.”

Morgan said that he understood why fans would be upset with the episode’s ending, but insisted that the show’s crew has everything well in hand.

“In talking to [Scott Gimple] and [Robert Kirkman] last night, that was the end of the story for that season — that is, Rick has lost control and there’s Negan,” he said. “And Negan has all of the control. And that’s where they wanted to end the story. It’s not about the death of the person. I understand the fans’ frustrations. That being said … I have to trust these writers and showrunners. They know what they’re doing.”

Series star Andrew Lincoln also defended the controversial ending, which he called “daring.”

“People are well within their rights to feel whatever they want,” he said. “If they feel robbed, it’s a completely valid thing. But a guttural reaction, an upset, that’s the point of drama. I don’t go to a theater or movie and not feel things. I want to feel things.”