The Walking Dead: Why are season 6 ratings in free fall?

Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead - AMC
Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead - AMC /

Despite The Walking Dead’s sixth season getting off to an amazing start, fans just don’t seem to be tuning in to AMC’s hit zombie survival drama the way they did in the past.

In fact, season 6’s numbers for live viewing have been massive, but still disappointing.  The season 6 premiere only had 84.5% of the viewers that the season 5 premiere had.  To make things even worse, the second episode of season 6 only retained 83.3% of the audience of the season premiere.  These are the worst ratings for the first two episodes of a season since The Walking Dead aired their season 3 episodes.

So, why are the numbers down so much despite having what could be considered two of the best episodes in the history of the series?  Here are some theories for the drop off in live viewers:

Carol. The Walking Dead - AMC
Carol. The Walking Dead – AMC /

The Walking Dead has maximized their audience.  We saw a lot of growth over the last 3 seasons of this show, but perhaps the growth period is over and things have leveled off.

  • Fear The Walking Dead lessened the excitement.  Adding another zombie show gave hardcore fans something to really enjoy, but it also made the long wait for a new season easier, and may have softened viewer desire to watch The Walking Dead as it aired.
  • Viewers want to wait and binge watch.  It’s hard to catch shows live.  Sometimes, it’s nice to let shows stack up on the DVR or wait until they come out on Netflix to watch them all at once.  Perhaps people just don’t view this programs as a “must-watch live” kind of show anymore.
  • Zombie overkill.  We already mentioned Fear The Walking Dead, but with other shows like iZombie and Z Nation, fans might just want a break from the undead to compose themselves until they’re ready to eat up more zombies.
  • This is just an anomaly.  Sure, there is a chance that this is all just a little lapse in viewership and people will return to live viewing for episodes later in the season.  Things like this happen all the time in television, so it’s a possibility.
  • Competition in the time slot.  Shows like Family Guy, Last Man On Earth and Sunday Night Football may have taken some of the live viewers and had regular viewers of The Walking Dead watching later showings or recordings of the show.
  • What do you think?  Why do you think numbers are down on The Walking Dead‘s sixth season?  And is there anything that you feel AMC can do to help bring those numbers back?  Let me know your opinion in the comments below.

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