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The Walking Dead: Negan’s Arrival is the Point When Ratings Declined, Viewers Left

Published on August 3rd, 2020 | Updated on August 3rd, 2021 | By FanFest

Negan’s arrival on The Walking Dead signaled the moment that ratings declined for the AMC zombie drama. Broadband Choices conducted a review of ratings data collected from IMDb.com and charted the ratings for the first nine seasons of the The Walking Dead. The results show that after the premiere of Season 7, where Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) were executed, that Negan is to blamed for the ratings decline.

SEASON SEVEN

Broadband Choices’ review of The Walking Dead’s season averages dropped slightly over the course of the first six seasons. At the start of Season 7, “the quality of the show falls off a cliff.” There were several issues with the show. There was the outrage over the executions of two significant characters.  Another issue was the communities’ inability to do anything significant to stop Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). As well, viewers became very tired of Negan’s redundant behavior and monologues.

Additionally, the Season 7 opener received complaints from the FCC for its violent and graphic depiction of the executions. The Parents Television Council reported the “brutally explicit” episode was “one of the most graphically violent shows we’ve ever seen on television.” This also marked the beginning of the show’s rapid decline in viewership. No other show has seen such a decline in viewership numbers as quickly as The Walking Dead.

In October, during his panel at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta, Morgan admitted Negan was “very one-dimensional” during Seasons 7 and 8.

“I thought the first couple of years that we knew Negan was very one-dimensional. To me, when Negan came out of the RV for the first time, we didn’t learn anything about him for two years, three years. And that was hard,” said Morgan. “I felt like everything that I said coming out of that RV is sort of what I said for the next two years, and never shifted. I think with the introduction of Judith (Cailey Fleming), and that relationship, we got to see a little different side of him.”

SEASON EIGHT

Season 8 marked the lowest ratings for a season, which was dubbed “All Out War.” However, viewers felt that a true war never culminated but instead the show continued aimlessly. Multiple opportunities to kill Negan were presented to Rick and his crew but were unsuccessful. The best example is when Rick and the gang arrive at the Sanctuary and fired their weapons on every object in the world except Negan, who was was standing wide open and unprotected on an elevated platform. As well in Season 8, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) died due to a walker bite and fans were outraged at how poorly his death was written and many believed that Carl should have been the future of the show, much like his comic book counterpart.

SEASON NINE

Season 9 brought in new showrunner, Angela Kang, and saw an improvement in the quality of writing and storytelling. However, Season 9 also saw the show’s central character, Rick Grimes, depart the show. Although the season was a critical success and individual episode ratings increased, viewership numbers continued to decline.

SEASON TEN

Finally, Season 10 received the highest rating scores of any of the 10 seasons of The Walking Dead. Kang and her team have put together much greater stories and depth. Also, Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers have given the show’s heroes a much more dangerous group of antagonists. As well, Negan’s story lines and better dialogue now have fans cheering him on. Morgan said in his panel, that Season 10 is the “best stuff [he’s] gotten to do on the show.”

Negan and the Saviors’ two-season dominance of The Walking Dead are the low for the series and caused the decline in ratings and the decline in viewership numbers. As we see more of the old Negan return with his new interaction with the Alexandrians, will we see it cause the same thing again in Season 11? We’ll just have to wait and find out.

The Walking Dead Season 11 returns August 22.

What do you think about Negan’s arrival and two year story line as the culprit for the fall of The Walking Dead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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44 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Negan’s Arrival is the Point When Ratings Declined, Viewers Left

  1. I feel that it went the same direction as the series ‘Lost’. It became a bunch of people walking around in the woods with no direction for the viewer. The show was boring and seemed hopeless so I moved on.

  2. That scene where he beat Megan’s boyfriend to death will haunt me for the rest of my life! Not good tv stopped watching it was sickening.

  3. It was the arrival of Negan that saw viewers drop. It was the sheer disrespect of a fan base by leaving them with the historically worst cliff hanger, which left many angry and unwilling to return. Viewers knew someone important was going to be murdered by Negan but to disrespect your fans by thinking they will only return if you give them nothing was undoubtedly the end of the Walking Dead.

  4. Scott Gimple was THE problem and STILL is. The franchise through too much money behind the spin-offs. Angela Kang has been great however, you can still see whenever gimple gets his grubby hands into it. That man looks like he is strung out bad. I love this show and I’m going to watch it till the end. But Scott gimple was the big problem. I should have kept Frank Darabont as the showrunner!

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