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Apparently, adding extra minutes to a TV show is an instant recipe for success--at least, if a show already has a major fanbase. Last night, The Walking Dead aired a special 90-minute finale that upped the ante and changed things for Rick and the gang, as well as the residents of Alexandria. We knew it would be a big episode, but we didn’t know it would break ratings records left and right. In fact, The Walking Dead Season 5 finale featured the show’s highest ratings in history, pulling in 15.8 million total viewers and 10.4 million adults in the advertising demographic. That show takes Charlie Sheen’s former catchphrase “winning” to a new level.
Because so many of the people who watched the finale were actually in the 18-49 demographic, the show brought in a whopping 8.2 rating. That’s higher than the incredible 6.4 rating that Empire brought in just a few weeks ago when its Season 1 finale aired (although Empire had 16.5 million total viewers, to give Cookie and Lucious some credit). In addition, AMC’s press release reports that this is the first time that all 16 episodes of the hit series have ranked in the top 50 telecasts on TV, an achievement that is even more impressive once you realize this is the first time a cable series has ever hit that goal.
We’re about to get into some spoilers, so jump away now if you weren’t part of that 15.8 million who tuned in!
Of course, it’s not a huge shocker at this point that fans are excited about The Walking Dead. The show’s finales, in particular, tend to be exciting episodes; for instance, when The Walking Dead aired its midseason finale, one of most heart-wrenching moments occurred in the series when Beth was killed off the popular drama. This time around, fans were given a tension-filled episode that just kept building and building over the course of its 90-minute run before exploding into an action-packed ending that saw Rick killing Pete and Morgan returning with Daryl and Aaron. Yeah, it’s a lot to process, but it was pretty exciting stuff.
With numbers like The Walking Dead is currently earning, it’s no surprise that AMC has already renewed The Walking Dead for a sixth season. If the show maintains the same trajectory it has had in recent years, we should be getting new episodes next fall. We’ve already gotten a little bit of a hint regarding what will be coming next season. Showrunner Scott Gimple recently spoke out to reveal some information about Season 6, noting the new episodes will be “big, loud and scary.” We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, look for The Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, to hit the schedule this summer.