The Walking Dead Just Won’t Die


The zombie plague might be a bit of a MacGuffin in AMC’s The Walking Dead—you know, because the real drama comes from conflict between humans—but that life-after-death theme now applies to the franchise too. After 11 seasons of the main series, plus five previous spin-offs, the latest entry, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, is shaping up to be a ratings smash.

Tracing the post-Walking Dead adventures of core characters Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Guriria), The Ones Who Live raked in three million viewers after three days of viewing following its Sunday premiere, according to Nielsen data cited by Deadline. It’s “the biggest premiere night audience for a new AMC series in six years, since 2018’s premiere of The Terror (that episode had a lead-in from The Walking Dead),” according to the trade. The Ones Who Live also fared well on streaming, becoming “the most-watched episode of any show ever on AMC+ … the show’s viewership on streaming has already outpaced the first week of viewership for any season premiere on the platform.” It also did a bang-up job luring in new customers, making Sunday “the biggest day for direct-to-consumer sign-ups in the history of AMC+.”

Not too shabby for a spin-off that’s trailing behind Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, which ran concurrently with the mainline series; anthology show Tales of the Walking Dead; and still-current spin-off entries The Walking Dead: Dead City and The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, which both have second seasons on the way.

Some of the viewership for The Ones Who Live is probably curiosity-driven; Rick and Michonne are fan-favorite characters who have been separated for some time, and the spin-off will presumably bring about their longed-for reunion. According to AMC, the show “presents an epic love story of two characters changed by a changed world. Kept apart by distance. By an unstoppable power. By the ghosts of who they were. Rick and Michonne are thrown into another world, built on a war against the dead… And ultimately, a war against the living. Can they find each other and who they were in a place and situation unlike any they’ve ever known before? Are they enemies? Lovers? Victims? Victors? Without each other, are they even alive—or will they find that they, too, are the Walking Dead?” The rest of the cast includes Pollyanna McIntosh, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Terry O’Quinn, Matthew August Jeffers, Craig Tate, and Andrew Bachelor.

New entries in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live air Sunday nights on AMC; you can catch up on the first episode by streaming it on AMC+.

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