It was blood sport all round on Sunday and not just that Pittsburgh Steelers win over the L.A. Chargers and the cable topping New York Yankees and Houston Astros game on Fox Sports 1. No, The Walking Dead and Succession both had sacrifices, new messy alliances and some telling ratings.
For the AMC zombie apocalypse series, the second episode of the 10th season pulled back the mask on the bloodless origins of the Whisperers.
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The Greg Nicotero-directed “We Are the End of the World” was also a new series low for TWD. Slipping 7% from the previous low of last week’s Season 10 opener to a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49, TWD was in a rare second place on cable with its viewership of 3.47 million. That total set of linear eyeballs was down 13% from the October 6 “Lines We Cross” episode.
Compared to the then series low of the second episode of Season 9, TWD viewership fell 30% and 35% in the key demo.
Hard truths and low numbers for the show based on Robert Kirkman’s now-defunct comic, but also mitigated realities. For one thing, starting with the Samantha Morton-led “End of the World,” all episodes of TWD are now available 48 hours before they air on AMC on the subscription AMC Premiere service, which we hear is doing quite nicely. Secondly, in Live + 3 ratings, the Season 10 debut rose 50% in the 18-49 demo and 45% in overall viewers – and that was an episode that was on AMC Premiere a full week before its October 6 linear launch.
Over on HBO, media mogul Logan Roy and his often less than spectacular offspring had a near banner night. With someone in the family set up to take the fall for the scandal in their cruise ship business. Not to give too much away if you haven’t seen the Jesse Armstrong penned This Is Not for Tears episode but the Jeremy Strong portrayed Kendell Roy certainly redeems himself after that horrific hip hop malfeasant of a few weeks back.
Though the 660,000 who watched the Succession Season 2 finale on Sunday on its first run on HBO was up 9% from the season premiere of August 11, it was down from both last week and the Season 1 ender of August 5 last year.
That’s in linear viewers for the burgeoning prestige series for the premium cabler. However, light a real-world digital match, and the Murdoch-inspired Succession is on fire like Sean Hannity at a Vermont Socialists League meeting.
In that burning context, the Brian Cox-led show snagged 1.1 million viewers when you add up first runs, encores and digital platforms. While just a tad below the 1.2 million multi-platform audience that the all-time series high of Season 2 premiere of the now addictively fueled Succession had, the Season 2 ender was a good bow for the show, for now. HBO don’t play the demo game cause they don’t have ads, but among adults 18-49 the end of Succession’s second season stayed even with its penultimate episode with a 0.2 in the key broadcast demo.
Can I just say, it’ll never happen, but man, a Walking Dead and Succession crossover would sure leave some blood on the walls, wouldn’t it? Although the Roys might scare off the Whisperers and the undead …