Despite facing the highest-rated "Sunday Night Football" game of the fall, AMC's "The Walking Dead" capped the first half of its fifth season with more huge numbers and a nice uptick in same-day ratings -- but was down a little from last year.
AMC will release "live plus-3" ratings later this week, but "The Walking Dead" on Sunday averaged a 7.0 rating in adults 18-49 and about 14 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen's "live plus same-day ratings." This was up about 6% week to week for the show's best numbers since its season premiere on Oct. 11 (7.4 rating in 18-49, 14.63 million viewers overall).
Compared with last year's fall finale, "Walking Dead" was down about 7% in the demo (7.6) and 5% in total viewers (from 14.8 million). And there's reason to believe that these modest declines could be trimmed in L+3 since Sunday's NFL game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos figured to steal away some live viewers.
"Walking Dead" remains the top-rated entertainment series of the fall in key demos despite its modest declines. And by way of comparison, Sunday's 7.0 rating tops every episode of Fox's "Empire" to date, with the soap peaking with a 6.9 for its first-season finale last March.
Its first eight episodes of season 5 averaged a 6.7 rating in adults 18-49 13.22 million viewers overall -- down 8% in both the demo and total viewers vs. last year. Sunday's finale was up 15% in the demo from its fall conclusion of two years ago (6.1).
Following "The Walking Dead," the third episode of "Into the Badlands" averaged a 2.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.2 million viewers overall. It was Sunday's No. 2 entertainment series in the demo, rising 8% from last week.