Despite weekly ratings that are basically one-third of where the highest-rated The Walking Dead episodes were, and despite precipitous ratings falls over the last two years, the AMC series has easily managed to hang on to the top spot among all cable shows during 2018. The fact that The Walking Dead has been able to maintain that position in spite of a number of series’ lows this year says more about how huge the series used to be rather than the strong current state of the series’ ratings.
In fact, for the entire year, it was the fourth most watched show in all of television in the demographic that matters (18-49 year olds), and the third most watched scripted program. Then again, number one on that list, Roseanne, has already been cancelled (the only still airing scripted program seen by more 18-49 year olds is NBC’s This Is Us). For the year, The Walking Dead chalked up a 5.3 rating among 18-49 year olds, just behind the 5.4 of This Is Us. Roseanne and Sunday Night Football led all television programs with a 6.2, which is huge but still doesn’t compare to the 9.6 put up by The Walking Dead two seasons ago.
Indeed, two seasons ago, The Walking Dead was completely unbeatable. However, the fact that it’s only the biggest hit on cable clearly hasn’t been particularly discouraging for AMC, which has set in motion a series of movies centered around Rick Grimes.