A longer-than-usual hiatus and competition from the Olympics Closing Ceremony combined to push down AMC’s The Walking Dead to its lowest-rated midseason premiere ever, at least among same-day audiences. Per Nielsen, Sunday’s episode drew 8.3 million linear viewers, a huge drop from season seven’s midseason return (12 million) and just a tick above the same-day audience for the very first TWD midseason premiere in February 2012 (8.1 million). The show’s record-low performance came among adults under 50, a key demographic group highly valued by advertisers: TWD notched a 3.6 same-day rating Sunday, well below the 4.3 rating earned by that 2012 episode (and roughly 35 percent behind last year’s midseason premiere). On the bright side for AMC, Sunday’s episode maintained the TWD midseason opener tradition of improving upon the audience for the winter finale (up 8 percent in the under-50 demo). The show will also add millions more viewers once DVR and streaming replays are tallied later this week, and it continues to be on track to once again end the season as TV’s No. 1 show among adults under 50 (though NBC’s This Is Us is putting up a serious challenge).
Photo: Gene Page/AMC