Loathe him or hate him, Negan hit a home run on Sunday night.
The Walking Dead‘s Season 7 premiere drew 17 million total viewers and an 8.4 rating (or 10.7 million viewers) in the coveted 18-49 demo, just shy of the series records (17.3 mil/8.7) set by its Season 5 opener. (Pause for context: TWD had about as many viewers just in the 18-49 demo as broadcast TV’s most-watched Sunday drama had overall.)
The Walking Dead‘s eventful, brutal hour did mark, however, its highest-rated episode ever in the 25-54 demo, where it scored an 8.7.
Compared to the Season 6 premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” was up 16 percent in audience and 14 percent in the demo, and versus the April finale it returned up 20 and 22 percent.
TWD‘s return earned a grade of “A” from 49 percent of TVLine readers, while 23 percent gave the polarizing episode an “F.” A little more than 50 percent said the episode “went too far” in its graphic depiction of the two big deaths, with 36 percent claiming they are now done with the series.
The rain-soaked, 90-minute Talking Dead premiere in turn hit series highs in total audience (7.6 million) and in the 25-54 demo, while essentially matching its all-time best 18-49 delivery (landing 4.7 million in the demo). Versus its previous post-TWD premiere, it improved 34 percent in audience and 28 percent in 18-49.