Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Photo: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Photo: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Rick’s departure from ‘The Walking Dead’ barely boosted ratings

Originally posted Tuesday, November 6, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

You know a show is in trouble when its key main character leaves and the ratings barely nudge upward.

For weeks, AMC has been pumping up Rick Grimes’ departure from “The Walking Dead” this past Sunday in hopes of drawing some former fans back. It didn’t really work. 

The show drew 5.4 million overnight viewers, up from weeks two to four, when the show averaged about 5 million. That’s an improvement but short of the season debut of 6.1 million. 

Add up all the on-demand and DVR usage and there are still maybe 10 million viewers out there each week. This is a show that regularly brought in 20 million-plus viewers just three years ago.

Despite the rapid falloff in popularity, “The Walking Dead” remains the most popular drama on cable in the 18-49 demo. So it’s still relatively big, just not as big as it used to be.

The post-show show “Talking Dead” with Chris Hardwick did see a major improvement week over week because it featured an interview with departing actor Andrew Lincoln, who will be doing AMC movies as Rick Grimes far, far away from the original “Walking Dead” world, which jumps ahead in time as well. The show jumped from 1.8 million viewers to 2.7 million viewers. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.