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The Walking Dead: Where Did Fans Stop Watching? Which Episode? Which Season?

Published on January 14th, 2022 | Updated on January 14th, 2022 | By FanFest

The Walking Dead has been a cable ratings juggernaut.  Through the first six or seven seasons, no other show on cable television had ever achieved the ratings highs that the zombie drama had achieved. Unfortunately, no other show has ever seen such a quick and steep decline in ratings too.  A study from earlier this year tried to figure out what caused viewers to depart from the show.

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 by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the ratings decline began.

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. 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.”

As well, AMC president Sarah Barnett admitted to the LA Times that The Walking Dead lost viewers over Negan being “too hopeless” a villain. Essentially, Negan was too much of dominate bad-ass. Here’s what she had to say:

“In terms of the quality question, I think that with 10 seasons of television — something like ER or Grey’s Anatomy — shows go through spurts. We’ve done a lot of research on the response to it and we certainly have our own thoughts about it. It’s true to say that that season with Negan [a mega-villain played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan] became a little too hopeless for audiences. I think that there was creative intention behind it that was really smart and thoughtful, but I think it probably pushed people to a place where it was a lot to take at a time when maybe people just didn’t want to see that.”

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.”

There’s a new Negan in Season 10 and fans are loving the character’s story line. Negan has proven valuable to our Survivors and he’s established himself a more trustworthy.

The Walking Dead Season 11 returns in February for it’s final season.

What do you think is the cause for the ratings fall of The Walking Dead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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54 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Where Did Fans Stop Watching? Which Episode? Which Season?

  1. We almost stopped viewing when Glen seemingly died. Then in a later episode when he did die we nearly stopped. Our interest seriously began to drop. Then way too much of Negan but at least he finally was captured. OK, that was good. But the Whispers…boring, boring, boring and way too much of them. The final straw, of course, was having Rick leave. We put the blame on Andrew Lincoln though. He had a commitment to the show but failed to see it through. OK, 10 years may be a lot…but really…each half of the season is only about 8-10 weeks. Fly home to cheery ol England a see your mates then return to the place that put YOU on the map! We dropped …no jumped out and haven’t looked back.

  2. I believe it is because you guys started killing off a beloved characters for one and for two Megan and his gang drag on too long and seemed hopeless. The show had me for SO long all the way till the getting rid of all the main characters that I loved. I’m a diehard fan but I’m not hooked like I once was.

  3. I stopped watching when they killed Carl. I agree that Carl was the futute and hope for a recovery ftom the apocalypse. I also hated what they did to Chandler and didn’t watch a show being run by sleaze bags.

  4. When the writers refused to kill off Negan and just left him in a cell to piss and moan about how he wanted to die because he missed his wife I was done. Negan and his crimes against the survivors demands punishment and episode after episode, season after season he continues to flaunt how he is still alive while Abraham and Glen are rotting in the ground. I stopped watching about halfway through the whisperers story arc so I don’t even know if Negan is still alive or not and maybe I will finish watching once the show ends but my days of eagerly sitting in front of my TV awaiting the newest episode are as dead as the victims of Negan that never got justice! I get it, characters have to die for the show to progress but Rick and the gang have always made sure that their sacrifices were not in vain. Then Negan came along and even after they beat him he got a sentence of three hots and a cot while everybody else still had to work for everything they got! The writers failed this series, the fans, and the characters that were the heart of this series!

  5. My problem with TWD is the very fact key players were taken out, Carl was the story for many of us, kids grew up with him, he was meant to be a good guy,, I know many who have never watched it since his death, Negan was a pain and his arc went on too long, it started off brilliantly but became much of the same, no longer even afraid of the zombies. AMC should never had kill Carl it was a given after that that they’d lose Andrew Lincoln who was and would still be the reason we watched it, his acting was absolutely beautiful

  6. The show runners and writers became far too cocky and self important . They thought that they and the show was bigger than the source comics and it’s characters stories . They have been proven, embarrassingly wrong .

  7. I watched from 1-1 , I think you took to many main character’s to fast , killing to main was Bad , then killing of Carl to soon , then letting Rick go , all to soon , Carl and Rick was the Main story line and you wiped it out . so this is why people don’t want to watch You Killed the story for many people ,

  8. I stopped watching after the death of Glenn the show lost its humanity , and descended into unnecessary and excessive violence

  9. I still watch but almost stopped when y’all killed Carl.
    For the record I was seldom bored. The story lines were masterful and once I stopped thinking about loosing Carl constantly I again enjoyed every second of the series. Character deaths are beautiful… (unless it’s Carl, Rick, Daryl or Carol).
    Thank you for the years of dedication to the show, story and your craft.
    Y’all are brilliant. I am NOT angry and will watch every second of TWD.
    FearTD was not as captivating. Morgan helped. But it’s too late I lost interest when the Nick was killed.

  10. I’ll say it again and again. You cannot get the audience invested into these characters for all these years then systematically start killing the fan favorites and push new people on us and expect us to like them the same. That’s not how it works. The show was supposed to be about Rick Grimes and his family. And his family became all those survivors whom stuck together from the beginning. We loved them. Then u start killing them. The killing of Carl was the last straw for me. He deserved so much more then he got. Shame:(

  11. Although I love jdm, I found myself really irritated by Negan. I really disliked Samantha Mortens character too. They were needlessly ridiculously hyperbolically bad. I was glad to see eventually, the sensible and understandable use of armour. Daryl needed a love interest. Seriously you wasted an opportunity there. Rick and michonne was hard to believe. The king with the tiger, the tiger King, was ludicrous. As was that romance. They never dealt with nuclear power plants either, which would have been a major problem. Unlike the comedy Last man on earth who dealt with it well. It would have been good to learn what they were missing in the way of foods, medicines, practical stuff. I probably will watch wd again, when I’ve run out of other stuff.

  12. I am still watching, but I want the writer to bring Rick back so he can be reunited with Michonne, Judith and RJ. Negan can be reunited with one of his long lost wives and leave the show for all I care or let Maggie vash his head with the bat. Darryl needs to be reunited with his lady and maybe a little Darryl. Eugene can find a cure, be with his mystery lady and they can all live happily ever after. I hate that Maggie and Hershel are alone. Glen was awesome!!

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