TV Ratings: 'Walking Dead' Hits All-Time Lows

Walking Dead - Samantha Morton - Season 9, Episode 10 -Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Gene Page/AMC

Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead got dunked on, falling to its lowest ratings ever.

Airing opposite the NBA All-Star Game on TNT and TBS, the AMC series recorded its smallest total audience and adults 18-49 rating in its nine-season history. The episode averaged just 4.54 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic, off 12 percent in viewers and 15 percent in the demo from its midseason premiere the previous week.

The Walking Dead's previous low in viewers was 4.71 million for its second-ever episode in November 2010. Its worst 18-49 performance before Sunday came earlier in season nine, with a 1.8 for the Nov. 18, 2018 episode.

The series, while still the top-ranked cable show (sports excluded) across the board, has taken a hard ratings fall over its past two seasons. Same-day 18-49 ratings for season nine are down 40 percent versus season eight; go back another year to season seven and the decline is more than 60 percent. Total viewership has fallen by more than half.

Sunday's ratings will grow by 60 percent or more with a week of delayed viewing, but they'll still come in well short of the comparable numbers from past seasons.

The NBA All-Star Game was also down year to year. It averaged 6.8 million viewers on TNT (5.77 million) and TBS (1.03 million), an 11 percent drop from the 2018 game. It was the smallest All-Star Game audience since 6.33 million tuned in for the 2008 game. The All-Star Saturday festivities, however, were up 12.5 percent year to year (5.02 million versus 4.66 million in 2018).