It finally happened: The Walking Dead Season 7 finale came and went, and it was yet another heart-stopper for fans of the show. But sadly, there are fewer of those fans than there used to be.
Just last month, showrunner Scott M. Gimple revealed his intentions for the show to last (at least) a whopping 20 years:
“We are trying to do twenty years. The comic has certainly done it, and I look forward to every issue. The Simpsons has been on 26, 27 years, so that’s a challenge — so OK, challenge accepted. Done."
However, after what this latest episode delivered in terms of audiences, that decades-long plan could be put into question. Even with all Negan's usual shenanigans, stomach-turning zombie action and a painful character death, you might be surprised to hear that the finale didn't quite grab audiences. In fact, it managed to become...
The Show's Lowest-Rated Season Finale In Five Years
The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life pulled in 11.3 million viewers from the 18-49 demographic. Now, that may sound pretty respectable, but The Walking Dead has been a ratings powerhouse for the past six years.
Of course, we should keep in mind that's still without DVR numbers. But we can't ignore the fact that the show had not seen such a considerable dip since Season 2's finale, which pulled in a mere 9 million. In comparison, the Season 3 and Season 6 finales had audiences of 12.4 and 14.2 million, respectively.
Does this mean an end to the show that's been expected to run for, well, let's just say a few more years? Well...not exactly. You see, the episode had a lot of competition: the season finale of Big Little Lies, the series finale of Black Sails, and Wrestlemania. So it wasn't like the show didn't have any help in not living up to expectations.
However, we can't deny...
The Entirety Season 7 Has Been A Ratings Rollercoaster Ride
This season's ratings have been just as unpredictable as its gut-wrenching storyline. Take a look, broken down by episode:
- Episode #1: 17.03 million
- Episode #2: 12.4 million
- Episode #3: 11.7 million
- Episode #4: 11.4 million
- Episode #5: 11 million
- Episode #6: 10.4 million
- Episode #7: 10.4 million
- Episode #8: 10.5 million
- Episode #9: 12 million
- Episode #10: 11.08 million
- Episode #11: 10.4 million
- Episode #12: 10.1 million
- Episode #13: 10.6 million
- Episode #14: 10.3 million
- Episode #15: 10.5 million
- Episode #16: 11.3 million
The series premiere was a massive success, pulling in 17 million people (who wanted to know who got "Lucilled" by Negan). Thanks to that, it became the second most-watched episode in the entire series, right behind Season 5 premiere, which had a nice 17.3 million zombie-craving fans.
Unfortunately, after that astounding success, it dipped drastically by the second episode, only having an audience of 12.46 million — with many viewers citing the Season 7 premiere's unprecedented violence as the final straw.
Since then, the series maintained an average of 10 million views per episode. And the finale was just further proof of that uncertainty.
- 5 Jaw-Dropping Moments From 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Finale, 'The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life'
- The Walking Death: Why Did 'The Walking Dead' Change Its Iconic Death Scene?
- 5 Things You Might Have Missed In 'The Walking Dead' Episode 16 'The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life'
I have to say, even with the unpredictable nature of the entire season and the heavy competition faced by the finale, it was still a disappointing outcome. And if the showrunners intend to keep the series going for as long as they've talked about, our beloved group of zombie-hunters will need to step up their game.
Fortunately for all of us, from how Season 7 ended, Season 8 looks to be an exciting ride that could attract a new audience and breathe new life into the series.