For much of the past couple of years, one thing has remained true: The Walking Dead has remained the ratings champion the 18-49 demographic. Will Game of Thrones season 8 actually be the show to dethrone it, pun intended, once and for all?
We can say this: When it comes to Game of Thrones season 7, there were moments where it was close. We know that the demo ratings don’t matter all that much for HBO, but the 5.7 rating that the most-recent finale drew for the network was either equal or better than any Walking Dead episode that we’ve seen since October 30, 2016 — the episode after Negan dropped Lucille on two beloved characters. As a whole, Game of Thrones averaged a 4.8 in the demo for season 7, down slightly from the 5.4 that we saw from The Walking Dead season 7.
For those wondering, there is a similarly-close battle in terms of total viewers. While The Walking Dead drew 11.35 million viewers on average for season 7, Game of Thrones was at 10.26. That’s only slightly more than a million viewers between them, the closest that the gap between the two shows has ever been. (For the record, you can say the same thing about the Game of Thrones finale in total viewership that you did the demo — the last time that the Walking Dead defeated its 12.07 million was October 30.)
Ultimately, all signs do point towards Game of Thrones season 8 finally unseating The Walking Dead season 8, even though you may have to wait a while in order to see it. There are a couple of clear reasons.
1. The two shows are going differently directions – Game of Thrones improved year-to-year by more than 23% in both measures for season 7. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead season 7 fell by at least 13% in both. If these trends continue, the zombies over at AMC are officially toast as the #1 cable series. Even if The Walking Dead loses another 13% and Game of Thrones stays the same, the fantasy epic will still be ready to overtake it.
2. Setting end dates – We do feel more that this is the big reason for the differing trajectories. With Game of Thrones having an end in sight, what that does is allow people to realize that this show isn’t going to be around forever, and it’s worth getting into because the commitment is finite. The Walking Dead being indefinite hurts it. It has lost some ratings steam just because it goes on and on, and over time it loses some of the metaphorical new car smell.
The one thing that The Walking Dead may still have secure? Its biggest records. The show’s most-watched episode had an 8.7 rating and over 17 million viewers. Game of Thrones would have to have a colossal expansion to match those numbers, and that is hard for premium cable. What it’s done already is incredibly impressive.
Do you think that Game of Thrones season 8 is going to outpace The Walking Dead moving forward? We suggest sharing your thoughts below!
Also, be sure to click here if you are interested in seeing more news regarding when Game of Thrones season 8 could actually premiere. (Photo: HBO.)