‘Walking Dead’ Season 9 Premiere Chops Last Year’s Ratings in Half

Zombie drama is still cable’s top show

Like so many of its zombies throughout the years, “The Walking Dead” ratings just got chopped in half.

Sunday’s Season 9 premiere of the hit AMC drama drew 6.1 million total viewers, with 3.2 million of those coming from the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. That’s down 23 percent overall from the Season 8 finale and 27 percent in the key demo.

Worse yet, the demo tally is less than half the 6.5 million that tuned in “live” to see the Season 8 premiere. The comparable episode last year hauled in 11.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen’s Live + Same Day ratings.

Unfortunately, the show’s October 2017 start was already down 35 percent versus its own predecessor. So, yeah, none of this is good.

Still, “The Walking Dead” Season 9 premiere was popular enough to make it the No. 1 cable show thus far this season among adults 18-49. It’s the seventh-straight season that claim holds true.

Sunday’s episode brought in enough viewers of the all-important age range to make it No. 2 on all of TV for this young 2018-19 Nielsen season, sitting behind just “This Is Us.” And “The Walking Dead” is not alone in its woes: Pretty much all of television’s top shows are down double digits year over year. That’s just the trend of appointment TV viewing.

Some more silver (maybe bronze) lining: AMC made the Season 9 premiere available on streaming service AMC Premiere 24 hours before its linear airing. The move drove the single highest day of new sign-ups in the history of AMC Premiere, the company’s commercial-free upgrade option.

AMC deals in Live + 3 Day ratings, which will be available on Friday and paint a more complete picture.