Last Sunday, the 88th Academy Awards might have drawn some viewers from the 11th episode of The Walking Dead, Season 6 ("Knots Untie"), but it's nothing The Walking Dead can't survive.
The episode aired at the same time as the Oscars and had a total viewership of 12.79 million — down a half point in the ratings from last week's "The Next World" (13.48 million) and the midseason premiere episode "No Way Out" (13.74 million). Those numbers will most likely rise as DVR users get caught up. But so far in Season 6, no episode has beaten the premiere, "First Time Again," with a huge 14.63 million viewers.
A handful of viewers might have switched from The Walking Dead to the Academy Awards, but it was still a bleak year for the Oscars in terms of viewership. This year, the Academy Awards faced a drastic decrease in people tuning in from past years (this year was the lowest viewership in eight years and the third lowest ever), with 34.4 million viewers and a 10.5 rating/31 shares, compared to 37.26 million at the 37th Academy Awards (11.0 rating/26 shares).
But for Walking Dead fans, the end doesn't appear to be near. Charlie Collier, the president of AMC network told Vulture:
"I will tell you we are not actively talking about the end of ‘The Walking Dead.’ We’re talking about how to keep this No. 1 show on television feeling as fresh as it does in season six. As a brand, we’re very sensitive to making sure that every aspect of it feels fresh and original, and that it’s not treated in any way that’s derivative or taken for granted. Our planning is current and future-focused, and it is not focused on the end at this time.
The Walking Dead will return on March 6 with episode 12, "Not Tomorrow Yet: on AMC. Watch the trailer here: