Season 7 of AMC's "The Walking Dead" has had more than its fair share of peaks and valleys. However, unfortunately for Rick, Daryl and company, the season went out not with a bang, but with a whimper, as the finale produced the lowest ratings for one of the hit series' closing episodes since season 2 back in 2012.
The Season 7 finale posted a 5.4 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, with a total viewership of 11.3 million, according to Variety. Although that puts the finale in line with this season's per-episode average, as well as above the Season 2 closer (4.7/9 million), it fails to match up to season 3 (6.4/12.4 million), and shows a whopping 20% drop in viewers from season 6's cliffhanger finale (6.9/14.2 million).
This all comes after the Season 7 premiere boasted the second-highest ratings in the show's history (8.4/17 million). The episode was so violent, it actually led to showrunners opting to tone down the level of gore for the remainder of the season, after Negan's bloody brand of baseball bat brutality was met with backlash by fans.
To be fair, "The Walking Dead" wasn't the only horse in the race this past Sunday, as it faced some pretty stiff competition that may have contributed to the drop in viewership. In addition to the ACM Awards on CBS, "The Walking Dead" also shared a time slot with the series finales of “Black Sails” on Starz, “Big Little Lies” on HBO, and, of course, WWE's SuperBowl of wrestling: WrestleMania. After all, not even the fiercest walker can resist watching The Undertaker's final match!
“The Walking Dead” will return for its eighth season this October on AMC.