7:34am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Returns Smaller, Still King in the Demo
The Walking Dead might be down, but it is hardly out. The sixth season opened shy of the previous fall debut, averaging 14.6 million viewers, but it still slayed in the demo.
Sunday's live-plus-same-day scores for the sixth-season opener give The Walking Dead a 7.4 rating among adults 18-49. The score is enough to beat the Sunday Night Football matchup it faced on its premiere — and the same-day score of Empire's recent premiere, leaving The Walking Dead's highest-rated status on TV unchallenged at the moment.
AMC is holding off on sharing full details for the 90-minute episode until live-plus-3 ratings are available on Friday, but the especially competitive night — also see the MLB postseason — likely means that the series could see more of a time-shifting boost than previous years.
Still, like Empire two weeks ago, this does mark the end of some rather unprecedented live-viewing growth. The Walking Dead clocked record after record with each season opener, ultimately peaking with the 2014 premiere that took in 17.3 million viewers.