The good news for fans of the AMC series is this: The Walking Dead is the highest rated drama on cable, and it’s not even close. Once DVR viewership is accounted for, it still average over 15 million viewers a week. On cable right now, The Walking Dead’s closest scripted competition is Major Crimes on TNT with 4.2 million people (which isn’t even as many viewers as the 5 million that watch The Talking Dead). However, The Walking Dead may no longer be able to boast that it’s the highest rated drama on all of television for much longer, because it’s now running neck and neck with NBC’s This Is Us (15.75 million versus 15.70 million for the last week where 7 days of DVR ratings are available).
More concerning, however, is the downward trend in overnight ratings for The Walking Dead. This last week saw its lowest overnight ratings in four years when it only managed 10.16 million viewers, and some outlets are characterizing that as “dangerous” for the AMC series. It’s not, and anyone who suggests that ratings for The Walking Dead are in a free fall is wrong, because the overnight ratings do not take into account the other 5 million viewers who watch it on their DVR (or the millions that download it illegally), nor do the overnight numbers emphasize that The Walking Dead is still the most dominant drama on television.