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Ratings: “The Walking Dead” Jumps For Season Finale; “Fear” Delivers Best Marks Since 2016

AMC had a big Sunday night, as “The Walking Dead” jumped — and then boosted “Fear The Walking Dead.”

The Walking Dead | Gene Page/AMC

The eighth season finale of “The Walking Dead” enjoyed substantial week-over-week gains in adults 18-49 and overall viewership.

According to live+same-day data posted by Showbuzz, Sunday’s season finale drew a 3.41 adults 18-49 rating and averaged 7.92 million overall viewers.

The numbers, which are the show’s best since the midseason premiere (and were the best posted by a cable show Sunday), top the 2.81 rating and 6.67 million viewer mark drawn by the season’s penultimate episode.

In addition to ranking as cable’s top-rated and most-watched show, “The Walking Dead” led all Sunday TV programs in adults 18-49. If “Roseanne” endures even a slight drop this week, “The Walking Dead” will rank as the week’s top scripted program in the demo.

AMC followed the season finale of “The Walking Dead” with the fourth season premiere of spin-off “Fear The Walking Dead.”

“Fear” naturally benefited from the placement. It drew a 1.63 rating and 4.09 million viewer marks, numbers which rank as the show’s best since the seventh episode of season two (May 22, 2016).

Granted, one can make the case that the retention is underwhelming in context. Featuring a rebooted narrative and the debut of Morgan from “The Walking Dead” (Lennie James), Sunday’s premiere was clearly designed to attract “TWD” fans who were not regularly watching “Fear.”

That it retained about the same percentage of “TWD” viewers as the premiere of unrelated series “The Terror” is certainly surprising, if not disappointing.

Still, “Fear” fared quite well by typical TV standards: it was Sunday’s #4 cable original (below “The Walking Dead” and two NBA Playoff games).

And if live+same-day ratings for “Fear” can remain in this general ballpark (especially since the show also receives lifts from DVR and multi-platform viewing), it is hard to imagine AMC being anything but happy.

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]headlineplanet.com.

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