NEW YORK (AP) — "The Walking Dead" aired its 100th episode for its eighth season premiere the other night, although it wasn't necessarily cause for celebration at AMC.
The show had 11.4 million viewers on Sunday night, down 33 percent from last fall's seventh season premiere, which had 17 million, the Nielsen company said.
AMC said there are all kinds of mitigating factors, primarily that last year's premiere was a cliffhanger that drew an unusual number of fans. Live television viewership is down across the board, particularly among the younger viewers that are the most avid fans of "The Walking Dead." It's still the most popular scripted show on television for viewers aged 18-to-49-years-old. The premiere numbers are on a par with the 10.9 million viewer average for the last eight episodes that aired.
But those numbers have to raise eyebrows over at AMC, particularly coming off a season that disappointed some of the show's fans.
Despite the ratings weakness, the season debut received some strong reviews.
The episode "manages to add some energy into an aging series and to at least partially hit the reset button," wrote Kelly Lawler for USA Today.
CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 8.8 million viewers. NBC had 7.5 million, winning among the 18-to-49-year-old age group watched closely by advertisers. ABC averaged 5.1 million viewers, Fox had 2.7 million, Telemundo had 1.43 million, the CW had 1.42 million, Univision had 1.4 million and ION Television had 1.2 million.
Fox Sports was most popular cable network, averaging 3.78 million viewers in a week it aired baseball's American League Championship Series. TBS had 2.71 million, ESPN had 2.1 million, Fox News Channel had 1.99 million, AMC had 1.73 million and TNT had 1.63 million.
ABC's "World News Tonight" won the evening news ratings race with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC's "Nightly News" had 7.8 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.1 million.
For the week of Oct. 16-22, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Atlanta at New England, NBC, 19.24 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.58 million; NFL Football: Kansas City at Oakland, CBS, 14.39 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 13.85 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 13.08 million; "NCIS," CBS, 12.85 million; "The Walking Dead," AMC, 11.44 million; "This is Us," NBC, 10.65 million; "The Good Doctor," ABC, 10.6 million; "Bull," CBS, 10.49 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.