The Walking Dead Returns With Series-Low Season Premiere

Moreover, the Season 9 opener's 2.5 rating places the series dangerously close to its all-time key demo low of 2.4, which occurred during Season 1, back when it was still an experimental 6-episode fall 2010 season offering.

"A New Beginning" made The Walking Dead the top-rated show on Sunday night and also drove the single highest day of new sign-ups in the history of AMC Premiere, which released the season nine premiere commercial-free 24 hours before its Sunday timeslot.

Elsewhere in Sunday cable ratings, TV By The Numbers reports that Doctor Who did 1.37 million viewers and a 0.5 demo rating for BBC America, up 49 percent and two tenths from its previous premiere (which aired on a Saturday). It was also down 23 percent from last April's finale, notable since even for many other shows that have seen ratings fall, their series premieres managed to eke out small gains over their finales. The Season Eight premiere boasted larger numbers, as well, posting 11.4 million live viewers and 6.5 million in the key demographic. But this wasn't just bad news in terms of season premieres-Season 9's first episode is almost tied with the series' lowest rating for any episode in the key demo, with a Season 1 episode's 2.4 rating standing as the lowest rated episode thus far. Plus, AMC made the premiere available 24 hours ahead of its time slot premiere on its AMC Premiere streaming service, and Deadline reports that the streaming service had its biggest ever day in sign-ups on October 6, the day prior to the premiere.

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If AMC was hoping the impending departure of Andrew Lincoln from The Walking Dead would lead to a ratings uptick in the show's ninth season, they did not get it.

We may find out exactly how many fans that was later this week if AMC provide some of that AMC Premiere data with Live + 3 numbers. The best new showrunner Angela Kang can do is retain the not inconsequential number of fans who are still invested, especially after Andrew Lincoln's exit later this season. According to Variety, Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, announced at New York Comic-Con this weekend that Skybound Games (a division of an entertainment company he founded) will develop and publish the season's final episodes.

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