The other day, the ratings came out for The Walking Dead’s Season 6 premiere, and while they were pretty huge compared to everything else on cable, the show saw one of its premieres dipping in viewers compared to the year before. For the first time in six seasons. But have no fear, those wondering if that decline was an omen, as the Live+3 numbers reveal a ton of people just didn’t happen to watch it live, and the episode’s total viewership almost hit 20 million.

When the dust and guts settled on Sunday night, around 14.6 million people had tuned in to watch “First Time Again” either live or in the repeat that aired later that night, with 9.4 million fitting into the key 18-49 demographic. But after the numbers were tallied that included people who watched on DVR, on demand and on digital services, they jumped up 33% for total viewers (19.5 million) and launched up 36% in the key demographic (12.9 million), according to THR. Those results are more in line with what we were expecting from the live airing, but Sunday nights are rough.

After all, The Walking Dead is almost always butting heads with the NFL’s Sunday Night Football on NBC. And even though it looks like the game between the 49ers and the Giants still managed to get watched by more people in its live airing with 19.59 million, The Walking Dead ended up right at its heels in the end, and that’s always huge. In the past couple of seasons, there have been a handful of Walking Dead episodes that got more eyeballs than an NFL game, which is something that relatively few shows can brag about.

And the premiere definitely deserved a big audience, as I found it to be the best episode of the series yet. It mixed good drama, a surprise death, massive special effects and a unique time structure. I know not every episode is going to match up to that kind of action, but we’re certainly hoping that’s the case. Check out the preview for Episode 2 below.



How many people do you guys think will tune in for Episode 2? Sunday Night Football is the New England Patriots taking on the Indianapolis Colts, which is always a good rivalry game, so we might see something similar to last weekend, when football fans choose sports over drama on that evening. We shall see.

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