When The Walking Dead took fans to a winter wonderland for the last episode of Season 9, it received a 'frosty' reception when it delivered the lowest season finale ratings in the show's history.
Off the back of the penultimate episode's jaw-dropping twist, new showrunner Angela Kang tried something a little different for March 31's "The Storm" and brought The Walking Dead's first winter-themed episode to life. Alongside criticisms that AMC was ripping off HBO and the frozen White Walkers, it seems snow-covered zombies weren't enough of a pull to viewers tuning in.
According to the Nielsen Live+Same Day ratings, the Season 9 finale averaged a 1.9 rating in adults 18-49 and 5 million viewers. While this still makes The Walking Dead the highest-rated show on cable television and one of the highest-rated scripted shows in general, it's a far cry from the show's heyday.
"The Storm" came in last when compared to The Walking Dead's other season finales since the Darabont days of 2010. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Season 5's "Conquer" from 2015 secured a whopping 8.2 rating and 15.8 million. This was followed by Season 4 (8.0/15.7 million), Season 6 (6.9/18 million), Season 3 (6.4/12.4 million), Season 7 (5.4/11.3 million), Season 2 (4.7/9 million), Season 8 (3.4 rating/7.9 million) and Season 1 (3.0 rating/6 million)
Season 9 brought with it a change on the long-running zombie apocalypse series. As well as the departure of big names like Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan, there was also a six-year time jump and the introduction of the terrifying Whisperers. The series also held its very own Game of Thrones-inspired Red Wedding with the show's biggest casting cull to date.
The cliffhanger ending of The Walking Dead Season 9 and the garbled voice on the radio should be enough to keep viewers hooked until Season 10 rolls around later this year, but it's hardly the Negan tease that bridged the gap between Season 6 and Season 7. Given Season 5's astronomical figures, The Walking Dead has its work cut out to ever return to its former glory.
The Walking Dead stars Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Nadia Hilker, Dan Fogler, Angel Theory, Lauren Ridloff and Eleanor Matsuura. The series returns for its tenth season on AMC sometime this October.