The Walking Dead did something that no show on television could do on a regular basis this year: They actually beat the NFL’s Sunday Night Football in ratings.
The hit AMC show owned the 18-49 year old demographic during season 5. They had much bigger numbers for 5 of the first 8 episodes of the season, showing that the NFL’s ratings juggernaut does have a weakness when it comes to having viewers tune in.
Recently, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch wrote about the NFL’s problem dealing with The Walking Dead this year. It impressed him greatly. Here’s what he sad to say:
"“It’s a remarkable television feat given that the NFL simply does not get out-rated on Sundays, and it makes you wonder if other networks can glean something from AMC, short of creating a show about a zombie apocalypse.”"
Meanwhile, the NFL refuses to believe that The Walking Dead is beating them. Instead, they offered the following excuses according to that Sports Illustrated article:
- More people watch the NFL live during the broadcast and then watch The Walking Dead on their DVR.
- Some of the NFL’ Sunday Night Football games were blowouts and found viewers changing the channel.
- The NFL had more viewers strictly between the 9 pm EST to 10 pm time slot.
The Walking Dead’s host channel, AMC, responded to those claims. They said that the numbers are based on live viewings during the initial airing of The Walking Dead on Sunday nights, not recorded or replays.
Despite the battle for viewers, the NFL isn’t going to be in any serious trouble because of competition from The Walking Dead. The two can coexist even when there is a crossover in fanhood. Personally, I watch both the NFL and The Walking Dead, but this year I have tuned in to The Walking Dead each Sunday there was a new episode instead of watching football.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter to fans who wins the rating wars. The fact that two quality programs can bring in the number of viewers they have is amazing. The Walking Dead and Sunday Night Football give people an option of two great shows to watch, but for some it’s just a shame that they’re on at the same time.
Then again, that’s what DVR and replays are for, right?
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