TV Ratings: 'Walking Dead' Hits Premiere Low, 'Doctor Who' Grows With Jodie Whittaker

The AMC series draws its smallest 18-49 rating for a premiere in its history, while Jodie Whittaker's debut as the Doctor improves on the show's last-season premiere.
BBC America
Jodie Whittaker (center) as 'Doctor Who'

The Walking Dead got off to a historically low start in its new season Sunday night. The day's other notable premiere, Doctor Who, went the other way, improving significantly on last season's debut.

Season nine of The Walking Dead delivered a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 6.08 million viewers. That's the smallest 18-49 rating for a season premiere in the show's history — the series debut in 2010 drew a 2.7 — and tied for the second-lowest demo rating of any episode. Sunday's show dropped by 50 percent from the season eight premiere in 2017.

The 6.08 million viewers made for the series' smallest total audience since midway through season two. The Walking Dead is typically a strong performer in delayed viewing, but it's unlikely that a week of catch-up will bring the show to the same-day averages for the season eight premiere (5.0 in 18-49, 11.44 million viewers).

On the bright(ish) side for AMC, the network made the Walking Dead premiere available 24 hours early on its AMC Premiere subscription service, helping drive the best single day for new signups since the service launched in summer 2017.

The 11th season of Doctor Who, featuring Jodie Whittaker — the first woman to play the title role in the show's long history — grew quite a bit from the season 10 premiere. The series premiered at 1:45 p.m. ET Sunday on BBC America, simulcast with the BBC's airing in the U.K., and drew 1.37 million viewers and a 0.45 in the 18-49 demo. That's up 48 percent in viewers over last season's 921,000 and 40 percent in the demo versus 0.32.

A primetime re-airing of Whittaker's first episode drew an additional 515,000 viewers and 0.15 in adults 18-49, bringing Doctor Who's total for Sunday to 1.88 million viewers and a 0.6 in the demo.

The BBC broadcast drew 8.2 million people in the U.K., beating the first episodes for the past two Doctors, Peter Capaldi and Matt Smith.