According to Deadline, season nine's third episode, titled "Warning Signs," clocked in with a live + same day results among the coveted demographic of adults 18-49 at a declining 1.94, taking the key demo down three percent from "The Bridge" and 50 percent from its season eight counterpart, "Monsters." The rating also marks a new series low.
It wasn't all bad news, however, as the episode was up two percent in overall viewership to 5 million, though that news is of little comfort given the steadily declining ratings of past weeks, each week tapping in at a new series low.
The season nine premiere, "A New Beginning," ticked in with a 2.5 key demo rating, marking the lowest-rated premiere in The Walking Dead's history and one that was down 50 percent in the demo from the season eight premiere. Season nine's second episode, "The Bridge," continued the trend that began seasons ago, landing a 2.0 rating in the key demo.
It is possible that the low ratings are in part due to the no-ad AMC Premiere service, which allows subscribers to view episodes beforehand, and which was credited for delayed 49 percent and 60 percent jumps in the Live+3 ratings for the season premiere. It is also possible that Andrew Lincoln's looming exit is causing fans to jump ship.
Lincoln, who has portrayed Rick Grimes since season one, is set to make his final appearance in episode five's "What Comes After," set to air on Sunday, Nov. 4. Both 9x04 and 9x05 are already being billed by the series as "Rick's final two episodes."
Lincoln's departing episode, set to see the return of three previous cast members, will see Rick "forced to face the past as he struggles to maintain the safety of the communities and protect the future he and Carl envisioned," according to the official synopsis.
It remains to be seen exactly how Rick Grimes will make his exit, though "Warning Sings" gave a glaring warning sign as to one possibility, an exit that would in part be credited to Jadis/Anne's communication with the man on the radio and his demand for "an A."
Ultimately, fans will have to wait to find out how Rick departs the series and whether or not ratings continuing to drop or make an upwards climb.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.