‘Walking Dead’ Officially Top-Rated Show on TV for Fourth Straight Year

Season 6 finale of AMC zombie apocalypse series generated significant controversy with cliffhanger ending

walking dead andrew lincoln norman reedus
Gene Page/AMC

(Spoiler alert: Please do not keep reading if you have not seen the Season 6 finale of “The Walking Dead”)

“The Walking Dead’s” sixth season is officially the top-rated show on TV in the advertiser coveted 18-49 demographic in live-plus-three ratings for the fourth straight year in a row.

The show had an average live-plus-three viewership across the season’s 16 episodes of 18 million total viewers, 11.5 million in the 18-49 demo alone.

“The Walking Dead” closed its sixth season on Sunday with a 90-minute finale that delivered 18.4 million viewers and 11.5 million in the key demo in Nielsen live-plus-three ratings.

“We know how rare it is to have the #1 show on television for four years running and to share a season six finale on AMC with more than 18 million fans, to say nothing of the passionate and appreciated conversations that followed. So, as we close this season, first and foremost, a heartfelt ‘thank you’ is on all of our minds,” Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, said.

“Thank you to everyone who makes ‘The Walking Dead’ possible, from those working in the Los Angeles-Senoia-New York ‘zombie triangle’ to our fans around the world,” he continued. “We now put down Lucille for a while and leave the ‘at bats’ to baseball until our October return.”

The data puts “The Walking Dead” head and shoulders above other top broadcasts, including NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” Fox’s “Empire” and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.”

On finale night and across its entire sixth season, “The Walking Dead” was again a major focus of attention in social media on platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

On the day of the season six finale, “The Walking Dead” ranked as the most talked about television show on all three platforms and generated nearly 3 million social engagements on Sunday night.

Across the entire season, social content around “The Walking Dead” garnered more than 47 million total engagements during primetime, with Twitter and Instagram social engagements seeing double-digit gains of 35 percent and 55 percent over the previous year.

The Season 6 finale was not without its controversy, however. The episode saw the debut of long-awaited villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but fans were outraged when the episode ended with a major cliffhanger.