Even zombies aren't immune from the ratings erosion virus spreading throughout TV land: The Walking Dead began its ninth season with just 6.1 million same-day viewers Sunday, losing roughly half the audience which showed up for the season-eight premiere a year ago. However, that episode drew only 5.4 million viewers.
Additionally, the percentages do not paint a pretty picture for The Walking Dead, since the Season 9 premiere was down by almost 50% in the (18-49) key demo and 47% in total viewers compared to the - also-low - Season 8 premiere, which drew a 5.0 and 11.4 million viewers previous year.
In news we first came across at Variety, Kirkman announced at this year's New York Comic Con that Skybound Entertainment, which he founded in 2010, has negotiated to complete The Final Season's remaining episodes and publish them.
From the Season 8 finale, the premiere was down approximately 23% in total viewers and 27% in the key demo. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the premiere achieved a 2.5 rating among adults ranging from 18-49. For one thing, it's possible Walking Dead will make up some of these declines once delayed viewing and streaming get tallied, though in the case of some broadcast network series this fall, DVR numbers haven't put a dent in the year-to-year declines.
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Still, it seems unlikely that The Walking Dead will ever stop the bleeding this far into the series' run.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season has temporarily been pulled from all major digital stores as Telltale works out the deal to move the game over to another studio, but you can still download the demo.