That's down 47 percent from last year's Season 8 premiere, which was watched live by 11.4 million viewers, and down about 11 million total viewers from the cliffhanger-resolving Season 7 premiere. The Season 9 premiere snagged a 2.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic, the lowest rating for a premiere in the demo in the show's history. Morris retains his neutral rating on the company.
Just last month, CBS brass woke up to find the network's long-running powerhouse comedy The Big Bang Theory had lost 40 percent of its under-50 audience versus its previous season premiere, while companion series Young Sheldon dove 55 percent from its heavily hyped series opener. 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.
It's not clear how many members of the Walking Dead's team will be brought on at Skybound, but with 400 miles between the two developers - Telltale is located in San Rafael, CA, while Skybound is in Los Angeles, CA - that will still result in a move for anyone who does make the leap over to the new developer. Additionally, while its former status as top-rated series on Sundays was yielded to NBC's This is Us, it's still a close contest, since that show barely bested TWD with a 2.7 rating.
From the Season 8 finale, the premiere was down approximately 23% in total viewers and 27% in the key demo.
The Season Nine premiere will likely see a significant boost in numbers when DVR and on-demand viewings are included in Live+3 ratings.
The ninth season of The Walking Dead will mark leading actor Andrew Lincoln's final run with the series. Hopefully, because that's a real new beginning.
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