Season 8 of The Walking Dead has been an interesting one. With All Out War against Negan and The Saviors in full swing, the season has been chock full of gunfights and action. But because the season has only taken place over the course of a few days, the pacing still seems to be an issue. Fans have dropped off from The Walking Dead over the past two years, but camp TWD doesn't seem too worried about the ratings. David Alpert is the CEO of production company Skybound Entertainment, which bring The Walking Dead to life. He recently addressed the discrepancy in viewership, citing other great TV content as the main factor.
I think overall we're seeing increased competition, not just from television and not just from streaming services, but you get content everywhere. The idea that people watch things super live, that need to view on the same night and we're measuring ratings like a live rating, I feel like it's a little be anachronistic to be like, 'Oh, you're not holding the same ratings that you were.'
It looks like there's just more quality shows on TV and streaming service lately. As such, The Walking Dead feels like less of a hot commodity, and TV watchers can either take their time catching up on new episodes, or even move on from the show altogether.
The Walking Dead's drop in popularity also no doubt has to do with the show's long tenure on the air. Continuing into Season 8 and beyond is challenging for any TV show, let alone one as popular and high-stakes as TWD. Some fans may have grown tired of the blood, guts, and zombies, and are moving onto other small screen adventures. And with only three characters left from the original Season 1 cast, there isn't a ton for the OG fans to hold onto nowadays.
But David Alpert and the rest of The Walking Dead team aren't planning on slowing down anytime soon. The original series could run seemingly indefinitely, and its spinoff Fear The Walking Dead has gotten more popular with its most recent season. And with Lennie James' Morgan transitioning over to the spinoff for a crossover, the possibilities for the zombie apocalypse seem endless. In his same conversation with Variety, Alpert spoke to the franchise's longevity, saying:
I don't think in any way the brand has lost its relevance. I think in general we're just seeing a decline in urgency across all media to consume something at a specific time.
The man has a point. Because while TWD has lost some fans, it's still one of the most popular (and most pirated) shows on TV. And with AMC not having a ton of A+ content other than Better Call Saul, we should expect the network to milk The Walking Dead for all its worth.