“The Walking Dead” Season 7 returned to a healthy ratings boost on Sunday, probably due in no small part to King Ezekiel and his trusty tiger, Shiba.
The midseason premiere pulled in 12 million total viewers and a 5.7 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic. Compared to the midseason finale in December (10.6 million viewers, 5.1 rating), that is a jump of over 13 perent in total viewers and over 12 percent in the key demo.
This is welcome news for the AMC series, which saw its ratings slip during the first half of Season 7. The season premiere opened strong with 17 million viewers and an 8.4 rating, but almost every subsequent episode declined after that.
The lowest rated episode of the season thus far was the episode that aired Nov. 27, in which Tara (Alanna Masterson) discovers the Oceanside community. That episode managed a 4.9 rating and 10.4 million viewers.
The show also faced stiff competition on Sunday night, with the Grammys airing on CBS. The 59th annual awards show drew in 26 million viewers and a 7.8 rating. That is the largest audience for the Grammys since 2014.
Compared with Season 6, however, the show is still looking to make up ground. The midseason premiere of that season pulled in 13.7 million viewers and a 6.8 rating. In fact, no episode in Season 6 dropped below 12 million viewers or a 5.8 rating.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sunday at 9 p.m/8c on AMC.