Watch The Walking Dead
Since its conception, The Walking Dead has been redefining the zombie genre. To some, it created the zombie genre. In the days, months, and years after the fall of civilization, a small, savvy, desperate and disparate group of nobodies struggles to keep themselves, along with their hope, alive in the American south. Their leader, police chief Rick Grimes, is a stoic and determined man, who's seen the best and the worst in people. He'll stop at nothing to secure the safety of his family and friends. As the troop begins to adapt to a world inhabited by the walking dead, they soon realize that the true challenge of survival lies in the evil that lurks in the power-hungry hearts of their fellow man.
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The Walking Dead Full Episode Guide
A group of Alexandrians sets out on a quest to a distant community and one member of the group has to make a heartbreaking choice.
The Saviors visit the Hilltop unexpectedly, surprising everyone, with plans of taking more than supplies.
The crew scavenges for supplies; back in Alexandria, someone has to make a morally complicated decision.
An Alexandrian realizes they have to navigate the mysterious, confusing and horrifying sphere within the Saviors' compound.
While looking for a missing Alexandrian, Rick and his team confront a mysterious collective, its dwellers unlike any they have come across.
Rick and the team are led to a new community where they meet its inhabitants and leader. A familiar face shows up.
Negan's unwelcome journey to Alexandria carries on as other members rummage for supplies; things quickly spiral out of control.
A closer view of the Sanctuary and the world of the Saviors; members of Alexandria search for supplies.
Someone stumbles upon a new society different from anything known before.
Saddled with grief and surrounded by foes, members of the crew attempt to find safety at the Hilltop before it's too late.
The remaining members of the gang try to keep it together in Alexandria; they get a sobering visit.
A new crew of survivors seem to have everything in their impressive community; but, there is a price.
For many familiar faces, a new, well-established neighborhood appears too good to be true.
The seventh season opens with Rick and the group kneeling powerless before Negan and his crew. Negan's actions will terrorize those who survive.
In the season finale, Rick and the group venture outside the walls of safety to save one of their own. On the road, they encounter Negan, who issues them a brutal warning.
When someone goes missing in Alexandria, the community goes on high alert, and search parties venture out.
Two separate groups leave Alexandria for supplies, and while both worry over the future of the community, they will face immediate danger.
With no hope of security in Alexandria, Rick and his group of survivors soon find a bigger world with new dangers and new opportunities.
Rick and the group realize the only way to maintain the peace of Alexandria is to fight a new enemy. However, this time, the group might be outmatched.
While trying to escape Alexandria, Rick and his group meet trouble when sudden noise draws walkers towards them.
Trouble returns to Alexandria after a short period of peace. Only now, the danger may be too much to handle.
At last, Alexandria is able to start putting itself back together; peace is accepted between the two companies.
While trying to go back to Alexandria, Daryl, Abraham and Sasha encounter multiple obstacles and threats.
After a lot of stumbling blocks, the feel in Alexandria turns bleak for the sheltered inhabitants.
Morgan tells the captured wolf about his journey from King County to Alexandria, where he met a lone survivor with a code.
The group attempt to return home, but will they all make it?
Just as things start to get back to normal, the Alexandrians are faced with a new issue.
In the season 6 premiere, Rick and the others struggle to adjust in Alexandria. A new threat occurs.
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The Walking Dead News
Thanks to glitches in data reporting from the Nielsen Company, fans who have been keeping an eye on ratings for The Walking Dead have had a long wait to find out how the series did this week. When the news finally came, it wasn't great, but it was a lot better than it has been lately.
This week's episode drew 10.68 million total viewers, up about half a million from last week. The good news is that the gain marks the first time that there's been a positive week-to-week ratings trend in the second half of the season. The bad news is the bump up is a modest one from last week's season-low level.
This week's thirteenth episode of the season still drew many fewer viewers than any episode since season three, and it's one of six episodes so far this season to draw fewer than 11 million viewers.
TWD was still the highest-rated program on Sunday, although the kiddie talent show Little Big Shots on NBC came pretty close to matching TWD's total viewership with 10.1 million viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles and 60 Minutes on CBS were not too far off, either, with 9.3 and 10 million, respectively. None of those series, however, came close to matching TWD's numbers among younger viewers.
The most active buzz around this week's episode of The Walking Dead concerns a particularly terrible CGI rendition of a deer, but the week also delivered some more bad new for the series. Ratings for TWD sank to a new season-low mark this week, and the show's audience is now nearly the smallest its been since its second season.
In a now notorious scene in this week's episode, Rick takes a break from zombie killing to consider shooting a deer. The sub-par digital rendering of the animal is of such low quality, social media immediately lit up with complaints from viewers who thought they deserved better.
If there's a bright spot for the show's producers, it's that relatively few people saw the terrible visual effects. Total viewership for the episode was 10.1 million, setting a new low point for the season and re-establishing the pattern of week-to-week declines that plagued the first half of the season.
Perhaps more significantly, the episode turned in lower ratings than all but three episodes in season three. To this point, it looked as if the series' ratings might be stabilizing around the level it enjoyed during the second half of that season, but the continued ratings declines are now threatening to put the series in territory it's not been in for a very long time. Not since 2012 has total viewership of TWD fallen below 10 million, but this week the series came within a hair's breadth of seeing it happen again.
For a moment, it looked as if The Walking Dead might have halted its ratings slide. But this week's episode came very close to matching the season-low ratings mark set during the first half of the seventh season. That low point is on a par for ratings numbers that TWD hadn't previously seen since 2012.
This week's episode drew 10.42 million total viewers, putting it in a virtual tie with the season's sixth episode, which attracted 10.40 million viewers. That episode was the lowest-rated of the season and the series' lowest-rated episode since the fifth episode of season three.
TWD had seen something of a ratings bounce with the premiere of the second half of this season, which drew 12 million viewers. The next episode, however, dropped to 11.08 million. This week's decline put the bar at the previously set season-low point. Given that no episode this season has yet seen a ratings gain from week to week (the only gain spanned the mid-season hiatus), the chance of setting yet another low next week seems good.
TWD only has wiggle room of about a million viewers if it hopes to avoid sinking to season-two-level ratings. Right now, the season-seven average rating is 11.7 million viewers; if you strip out the high (and so far totally unmatched) ratings of the season premiere, the average falls to 11.16. Even the higher of those numbers is the lowest average since season three. By comparison, season five averaged 14.38 million viewers.
Last weekend's mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead posted higher ratings than the first-half finale, marking the first time this season that the series has seen a ratings increase from one episode to the next. Does that mean that the series' ratings slide is over? According to the numbers for the latest episode, the answer to that question seems to be "maybe."
This week's episode, the second of the season's second half, drew 11 million total viewers. That's down by about a million from the previous week's episode and is in line with the ratings for the season's third episode. On the bright side, however, it's the season's fourth-highest-rated episode so far.
Overall, the ratings for this week seem to confirm that the series has stabilized with ratings right around the level it posted in its third season. One might speculate that the broad audience that came to the series in the fourth and fifth seasons has jumped ship, leaving behind the solid fan base that discovered the series in 2013.
In any case, TWD still draws a big audience, and any fears that it was going to fall into the relative obscurity of seasons one or two may be laid to rest. At least for now.
If the producers of The Walking Dead were hoping for a big turn-around in the series' ratings slide with this week's mid-season premiere, they have to be disappointed. The ninth episode of season 7 was the third-highest-rated episode of the season so far, but compared to past mid-season premieres, it did not draw a big audience.
The total viewership for the live airing of the episode was 11.99 million, making it the highest-rated episode of the season since the second one. That second episode, however, had already seen a huge ratings drop from the very high-profile season premiere, which attracted 17.03 million viewers.
In comparison to past seasons, though, the mid-season debut seems to be continuing the disappointing trend of the season overall. The episode drew the smallest mid-season audience since the season-two halfway point, when that season's ninth episode drew 6.9 million viewers.
If nothing else, it seems that TWD's ratings slide has stabilized and that the series is now consistently drawing ratings comparable to those of its third season. In that season, the series was on the cusp of becoming a huge hit, but its ratings were well below the stellar numbers that would come in the fourth, fifth and sixth seasons.
The second half of The Walking Dead's seventh season begins this weekend, and fans have reason to approach the back half of the season with trepidation. The first half of the season was received with disappointment by critics and many fans alike, and there's some concern that season seven needs to finish strong in order to save face for the series.
So what can we expect from the home stretch?
The series' producers, writers, network and cast have promised that the second half of the season is going to be characterized by all-out war between Rick's group and Negan's army. The first half of the season was a grim slog in which Rick and the others were subdued and dominated by Negan. In the second half, we can expect the tables to turn.
We probably shouldn't expect them to turn swiftly or soon, though. One of the major complaints about the first half of the season was its slow pace and dull digressions. There's not much reason to expect that the producers have learned their lesson, however. If all we have to look forward to by the end of the season is Rick's eventual victory over Negan, we should be prepared for a many-episode-long lead-up to that event.
The first half of the season was also criticized for its dispiriting, graphic violence. We're getting conflicting reports about whether or not that's going to change. Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd promised that the violence would be toned down going forward, but she was contradicted by fellow EP Greg Nicotero. Showrunner Scott Gimple hedged between the two, explaining that graphic violence would be used only when it was appropriate.
Only time will tell if TWD can pull season seven out of its slump. A new episode of the series airs on AMC on Sunday, February 12.
The Walking Dead returns from its mid-season break next week, and the series is looking to turn around the ratings slide that plagued the season's first half. A teaser trailer for the series that aired during last weekend's Super Bowl, however, seemed to play up the controversial violence that got the slide started in the first place.
The 15-second teaser featured a simple shot of a football lying on turf with the sound of crickets in the background. Suddenly, Negan's barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille, descends on the football and crushes it with a sickening splat, followed by the title "Football Season Is Over."
The teaser alludes to the violent season premiere episode, in which Negan kills two characters in a particularly horrific manner. The graphic (and arguably gratuitous) violence of the episode was denounced by many critics and fans alike, and many blamed the backlash against the episode for the series' unprecedented ratings drop through the first half of the season.
It's surprising then that the series producers would choose to refresh fans' memories about that episode in an attempt to generate excitement about the second-half premiere.
The second half of TWD's seventh season gets underway on Sunday, February 12, on AMC.
The return of new episodes of The Walking Dead is still more than a week away, but fans can indulge in some zombie nostalgia this weekend. AMC will be continuing its tradition of airing a TWD marathon on Super Bowl Sunday.
The marathon gets started bright and early Sunday morning at 8am with the series' very first episode. TWD will then air back-to-back throughout the day, even during the big game itself. All of the first two seasons will air, with the last episode of season two finishing up in the wee hours of Monday morning.
Broadcast marathons have become a bit less compelling for viewers with the expansion of on-demand viewing opportunities. Netflix subscribers, after all, can watch any episode of TWD that they want, whenever they want to. Marathons still have something of a special-event air to them, though, and networks can use them as marketing opportunities.
TWD could use some good marketing right now. Its current season has seen a substantial ratings drop through its first half, and a re-introduction of the series' early episodes might remind viewers why they fell in love with the series in the first place. Or it might remind them that season 7 isn't nearly as good as season one.
The second-half premiere of TWD's seventh season airs on AMC on February 12.
There are mixed messages coming from the leadership of The Walking Dead concerning the level of violence in upcoming episodes of the series. One executive producer says the violence is going to be toned down, but another says that's not true.
EP Gale Anne Hurd told an audience at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference last week that the producers made adjustments after the outrageously gory premiere episode of season seven preceded a big ratings drop for the series.
"We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” she said during a panel. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season."
EP Greg Nicotero, however, seemed to contradict Hurd in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"I don’t think we would ever edit ourselves," he said. "I don’t think we’ll ever pull ourselves back."
Showrunner Scott Gimple tried to explain the apparent disparity.
"The violence in the premiere was for a specific narrative purpose," he said. "If we’re ever going to see something that pronounced, there needs to be a specific narrative purpose for it."
After pulling in near-record ratings with its season-seven premiere, the series saw a steady ratings decline until it reached four-year lows near the end of the season's first half. The second half of season seven begins on February 12.
Faithful fans of The Walking Dead are not as concerned as the rest of us about the series' declining ratings. They often cite the millions of viewers who watch each episode in the days after it originally airs as a reason to not be alarmed by the drop in same-day ratings. Those big delayed-viewing numbers might not be the series' salvation, however.
First, the good news. TWD is still the highest-rated scripted TV series among younger viewers. And it still sees a huge surge in viewership during the three-day period after each episode's air date, much more so than most other series.
The bad news is that as same-day ratings have fallen, the series' three-day ratings have fallen, too. TWD is still seeing three-day viewing growth of above 40 percent, but that's been fairly typical for the series. That means that the almost 7 million viewers the series lost between its season premiere and its mid-season finale are not just choosing to delay their viewing of each episode; they are choosing not to watch the episodes at all. They look, at this point, as if they might be gone for good.
Advertisers see another big problem with relying on delayed viewing. Most TWD viewers skip over ads when they watch an episode they've DVRed, and advertisers hate that. They hate it so much that they keep track of ad viewing more closely than they keep track of total viewership or demographic ratings for each episode. And according to the metric that advertisers care about, TWD isn't doing well at all.
There's no way to argue that TWD isn't still more popular than any other scripted series on TV. But there's also no way to argue that, by its own very high standards, the series' seventh season has been anything but immensely disappointing.
Last week, it looked as if The Walking Dead might have stabilized its ratings collapse by airing, for the first time this season, an episode that didn't draw fewer viewers than the episode that came before it. Last week's episode, though, only ticked upward slightly in terms of viewership, and hope for a redemption of the series' season shifted to this week's mid-season finale.
The last episode before the winter hiatus has always been a reliable winner for TWD, and there was an expectation that many of those millions of viewers who'd tuned out so far in season seven would come back for the mid-year climax.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The mid-season finale did see a ratings gain compared to last week, but it was a miniscule one. The episode's 5.0 rating in the 18-49 age demographic was statistically a tie with last week's 4.95 rating, and this week's total viewership of 10.58 million is barely bigger than last week's 10.48 million.
The good news is that TWD avoiding having the lowest-rated mid-season finale since 2011, but again, not by much. The ratings for this season's mid-year finale are on a par with those of season three's.
At this point, it's beginning to look like TWD might have shed for good the millions of fans it gained during its peak years of 2014-2016. It's still one of the most-watched series on TV, but will it ever again be a must-watch cultural phenomenon? We'll have to keep our eyes on the second-half premiere in February for the next clue to the series' future.