The Walking Dead made its Season 8 midseason return on a crowded night and still handily won the ratings game. Carl's requiem snagged a 3.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic, topping the Winter Olympics closing ceremony, which only managed a 3.0 rating, according to TV by the Numbers. The Walking Dead was up 20% versus the tape-delayed closing ceremony, Deadline reports. This is the second time The Walking Dead has topped the Winter Olympics, too — Season 4's midseason return rated higher than the closing ceremony in Sochi in 2014. So at least among Americans 18-49, The Walking Dead is more popular than the Olympics . The buzzy premiere was also up 8% compared to December's midseason finale.
That's the good news. The bad news is that The Walking Dead's ratings continue to dramatically erode year-over-year. Deadline reports that the Season 8 midseason premiere was down 37% percent from the 2017 winter return, which went up against the Grammys. Season 7's "Rock in the Road" earned a 5.7 rating and nearly 12 million viewers compared to Season 8's 3.6 rating and 8.28 million viewers. Season 7 was in turn down from Season 6's 6.8 rating/13.74 million viewers at midseason. The Season 8 midseason premiere was the lowest midseason premiere since Season 2.
The Walking Dead is bleeding viewers, but to be fair, everything else is, too. Variety reports that the 2018 Winter Games were the lowest-rated on record. And The Walking Dead performs well in delayed viewing. The numbers aren't as high as they used to be, but nobody's numbers are what they used to be, and The Walking Dead's ratings are still good enough to make it, y'know, the top-rated show on TV. There's no need to bury Rick Grimes just yet. But AMC and newly-promoted Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple need to be working on some big, splashy projects if they want to keep the franchise from decaying like a walker in the sun.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.