You knew this was going to happen: HBO’s Westworld took a whack in the ratings from going head to head against hugely anticipated season premiere of The Walking Dead.
The fourth episode of the sci-fi drama dipped 19 percent to 1.7 million viewers on Sunday night. Considering that TWD is, like Westworld, a high-concept cable genre drama, and had about 17 million viewers — its second-biggest audience ever — the Westworld decline is actually not too shabby.
Westworld hasn’t yet received a second season renewal, but we’re not worried. The series premiere has now been seen by 12 million viewers, which is considered very high for HBO — that’s more than any episode of Game of Thrones during its first season. And the third Westworld had the show’s largest overnight audience yet, 2.1 million viewers, bouncing back after the second episode aired against a presidential debate. That rebound was considered a promising sign that the show’s audience was growing (at least, until Negan and his baseball bat came around).
Since HBO isn’t selling ads, the important measurement is how many people cumulatively watch their shows, not how many watch new episodes the first time they air at 9 p.m. on Sundays. So Westworld should be just fine even if TWD keeps batting away at it in the weeks to come as long as fans still catch up on the latest action in Sweetwater each week after their TWD PTSD wears off.
In case you missed it, EW had plenty of post-episode coverage of both shows: Our Westworld Ep. 4 deep-dive recap, showrunner Q&A and radio chat show; and our TWD premiere producers, director interview and actor interview.