No one can deny that The Walking Dead is a cultural phenomenon. It has spawned comics, video games, TV shows, and potentially even a feature length film. It was a major event when the seventh season began last month thanks to the major cliffhanger at the end of the sixth season. It seems though that the premiere may have driven some viewers away, though.
Since the premiere, the number of viewers per episode has been declining rapidly. While this wouldn't be a big deal between the premiere and the second episode of the season, the numbers have been dropping all season.
Entertainment Weekly provided specific numbers for each episode with the largest drop being between episode 2 and 3, losing roughly 800,000 viewers. Episode 2 had 12.5 million viewers, Episode 3 had 11.7 million, Episode 4 had 11.4 million, and Episode 5 came in with the lowest numbers so far at 11 million. Although these numbers show a decrease in viewers, it's still one of the most popular TV shows airing today.
It's unclear what's causing people to walk away from the zombie soap opera, but it could be chalked up to the disturbing violence that has been put into the show. The premiere left many in awe after seeing two characters get brutally executed. One of the victims even had their eye bulging out of their skull while still holding on to their life. Once they were finally dead, Negan (the show's current antagonist) smashed the lifeless corpse's head into an unrecognizable pile of blood and mush. Many felt the level of violence was pretty unnecessary, despite being a mature TV show.
The show has already been renewed for an eighth season which will air sometime in 2017. Telltale Games also revealed the release date for the third season of their critically acclaimed Walking Dead game which is coming this December.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sunday nights at 9/8 central.