The last premier this low was for Season 3 back in 2012.
By Robert Marrujo:: While there's little reason to hit the panic button just yet, word is that The Walking Dead Season 8 premier didn't do so hot in the ratings department. According to Variety (which in turn was passing along the Nielsen data on the broadcast), the Season 8 premier had 11.4 million viewers glued to their televisions, down from the 17.29 million from a year ago. It's not a terrible number by any means, but that 11.4 million is still the lowest since 10.86 million tuned in for the Season 3 premier.
What does it all mean? It's hard to say. Some fans were clearly burned out by the menace of Negan over the course of Season 7, so it's possible that they weren't too keen on seeing more of the villain. Indeed, it's arguable that The Walking Dead might have a bit of a Negan problem, but that's an article for another time. In the meantime, the show is still the lynchpin of AMC's programming schedule, so unless something catastrophic happens with ratings over the course of this season, the low premier numbers isn't reason to sound the alarms just yet.