Despite the negative reaction by many fans to the Season 6 finale, "The Walking Dead" returned last weekend to near-record ratings.
Fans tuned in to AMC to the tune of an 8.4 rating among viewers 18-49 and 17.03 million viewers overall to learn who Negan killed. The series' all-time high is 17.29 million viewers and an 8.7 among adults 18-49 for the Season 5 debut.
The final ratings, which may adjust higher or lower, will arrive later in the day.
Not only was it the second-best number ever for the series, it was enough to top the Sunday night ratings overall, including the NFL's Sunday Night Football.
The network's TWD-themed talk show, "Talking Dead," followed the season premiere with a special 90-minute episode. It drew 7.6 million viewers for a 3.7 rating among adults 18-49.
Airing Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC, "The Walking Dead" stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peleteir, Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Green, Danai Gurira as Michonne and more.