Sunday night brought the end of a television era, with The Walking Dead airing its final episode on AMC. The series, which is inspired by the Image Comics series of the same name, has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon across its run — and according to newly-released numbers, some of that impact reverberated into the series finale. The series finale of The Walking Dead reportedly drew in 2.27 million viewers on Sunday, the highest ratings for the show since February 28, 2021. That being said, it’s far from the numbers that the series used to pull, earning 5.35 million for its series premiere, and 17.29 million for its Season 5 premiere.
By contrast, the episode of Yellowstone that aired on the same night as The Walking Dead‘s finale drew 8.83 million viewers, and Sunday Night Football drew a total of 19 million viewers.
The series finale of the flagship show definitely won’t be the end of The Walking Dead universe, between the ongoing Fear the Walking Dead, and the upcoming The Walking Dead: Dead City, as well as spinoffs tied to Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes and Michonne. Still, for the cast and crew involved with The Walking Dead’s finale, the idea of tying everything together was daunting.
“I will be honest — the pressure of knowing that we had to stick the landing was pretty stifling at times,” director Greg Nicotero told ComicBook.com in an exclusive interview. “I had the entire cast and crew’s support. I had everybody behind me. But sort of getting to that point, and knowing that we had a lot of story to tell in a short amount of time, and that we had to wrap everything up. But the crew was fantastic, really supported me. I feel like I’ve evolved so much as a filmmaker since my first day on The Walking Dead.”
“I mean, I’d worked on the show for 13 years,” Nicotero continued. “I was hired a year before AMC ever bought the show, to develop the look of the zombies. And there’s probably maybe 20 of us that have weathered the entire series, including Norman [Reedus] and Melissa [McBride], and a couple producers and some key crew people. But I was really going into it for those people, as well as everyone that has been on the show for as long as they had.”