Viewership down for 'Walking Dead' debut

'Walking Dead' Season 8 Premiere Draws Lowest Opening Ratings Since Season 3

Networks stock was down more than 3% in Tuesday trading two days after its big franchise hit, "The Walking Dead", tumbled in its eighth-season premiere. This episode generated over a 5.0 rating and more than 11.4 million viewers - these are not awful numbers by any means, even if this is slowest start for the season since season 2. This also means that the Season 8 premiere is the third-lowest in series history, ahead of only Season 2 and Season 1.

Nevertheless, "The Walking Dead" is one of few shows that could experience such a steep decline and still remain in solid ratings shape. This premiere episode is down about 39% from the season 7 premiere, which of course featured the (year-old spoiler alert) death of Glenn and Abraham.

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If the ratings were low by "Walking Dead" standards-last season's skull-crushing, cliffhanger-resolving opener scared up 17.4 million viewers and a 8.4 in the demo, or 10.7 million adults under 50-the show remains a monster hit for AMC. Live television viewership is down across the board, especially among the younger viewers that are the biggest fans of "The Walking Dead". According to Nielsen, the September 26 season premiere of "This Is Us" improved from an already impressive 3.9 in live-same-day to a 4.4 in the C3 currency, which is meant to reflect commercial ratings over three days of viewing.

Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes in the season premiere of "The Walking Dead" on Sunday. However, as a whole The Walking Dead is now beating the Game of Thrones season 7 average. The premiere was the most social non-sports program on broadcast or cable for all of Sunday, according to Nielsen Social Content ratings.

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