What Finally Killed ‘The Walking Dead’? squib

Michael Muller/AMC

A few years ago it seemed that The Walking Dead would outlive us all—but on Wednesday Scott Gimple and Angela Kang confirmed that the onetime TV juggernaut will come to an end with a 24-episode 11th season. Once upon a time, The Walking Dead was planned to run for 12 seasons at least. Over the years, however, enthusiasm has waned along with viewership. What happened?

It’s worth noting that most Walking Dead seasons have run for 16 episodes, making this supersized season only two installments shy of a 12-season episode count anyway. Still, for most Walking Dead fans, it’s likely not that surprising that this undead drama will finally breathe its last breath.

Even the most charitable reviewer must acknowledge that the show has been languishing for years; the better of its most recent seasons have still struggled to match the verve of previous chapters, and droves of new characters have consistently failed to connect with audiences the way Rick Grimes and his OG crew once did. (No shade to actor Dan Fogler, but who the hell cares about Luke the Music Teacher?) Ratings have been sagging for ages and this year the show finally fell below 3 million viewers.

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