The Walking Dead not dead man walking… yet

The Walking Dead logo

courtesy AMC

AMC’s stock has taken a hit as initial (live + same day) ratings for the season premiere of The Walking Dead showed a shocking 43 percent drop year-to-year. AMC’s stock showed a decline of seven percent between Monday’s high and Thursday’s close. While live+same day audiences certainly doesn’t tell the whole story – The Walking Dead is certain to have a substantial audience added through time shifting over the next week – is this an initial sign that this series is finally on the downhill side of its life after seven seasons?

I have to say, as a big fan of TWD and a viewer since the first season, that last season was a storytelling disappointment to me. There were high spots during the season within the story arc – I can’t get enough of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan, and other characters played out some interesting side stories.  But as season seven wrapped up, I felt like there was no movement of the overall narrative – Rick and Negan are going to war, and we’re back where we started at the end of season six.

Interviews with the series’ creative team indicates this season will, at least through the first half, be action-oriented and we can only hope that this will also move the overall narrative along. One of the great things about TWD was its fearlessness in killing off fan favorites and keeping the audience on its toes. Now, there is more of a feeling of the stalling tactics of traditional series (how do we drag out the obvious conclusion of this romance/drama/comedy narrative by introducing credible or completely illogical roadblocks?)

All that being said, TWD still has ratings of which almost any other program would be jealous, so TWD and AMC still have a lot of time to recover before TWD becomes a zombie program itself.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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