The season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead saw ratings drop from previous seasons but the episode titled ‘Mercy’ still took the top spot in cable ratings.
The highly anticipated season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead dropped in cable live views from past seasons. But the ratings were still high enough to keep the show on top of the cable charts for the night.
An estimated 11.44 million viewers tuned in to watch the season 8 premiere, “Mercy”. The episode was also the show’s 100th episode. It was the start of a storyline that fans of the comic have been waiting for which shows goes Rick and Negan heading into All Out War for control of the survivor communities.
Even the ratings were lower than last year’s season 7 premiere some dropoff was inevitable. Last season’s premiere featured the bloody resolution of the tense cliffhanger that introduced Negan. And fans were anxious to see who wouldn’t make it out of the lineup alive.
While the extended view numbers aren’t available yet it’s safe to assume that The Walking Dead’s season premiere will pick up dramatically once the Live+3 and Live+7 views are counted. Over the past two seasons both The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead have seen huge jumps in views in extended viewing.
Cable Subscription Rates Plummet
One of the reasons for the drop in live views probably has nothing to do with the show. Despite the alarm bells clanging from some media outlets that declare the show’s ratings drop is due to fans being unhappy with the changing story that’s only part of the picture.
Cable subscription rates have been dropping steadily since 2016. More than 1.5 million people per year have been dropping paid cable subscriptions in favor of using streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon.
This drop has led to overall ratings dropping across the board for cable, even for the most popular shows. The Walking Dead season premiere still managed to beat out its closest competitor, Game of Thrones, by more than a million views. And the premiere episode was still the ratings winner for cable views for the night.
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Mixed Fan Reactions
There were some fans who felt that Sunday’s premiere was a bit of a letdown. There was a lot of hype for the 100th episode and some fans felt that it fell flat because they had extremely high expectations.
But other fans thought the premiere was the perfect blend of callbacks to the first episode of the show and the start of the war against Negan and The Saviors. There was a lot of action as Rick and the other took the first strike against Negan.
But while there may have been some fan disappointment in The Walking Dead’s first episode of season 8 the show is still the ratings leader for cable TV. That’s no small feat for a genre show about the undead that has managed to survive for 8 seasons.
The Walking Dead is changing. But the story is heading iinan exciting new direction and despite the live ratings decline the show is no danger of losing the title of the most popular cable show on TV.