Rise up, indeed!

"The Walking Dead" Season 7 has been on a ratings roller coaster, and it now seems to be on the climb back up. The season started with near-record ratings then crashed, only bottoming out in time for the December midseason finale. After a two-month break, the show just returned February 12 with the midseason premiere, and the numbers look promising. We're not talking record ratings, but a definite improvement from the past few episodes, and the highest overall numbers and 18-49 ratings since Episode 3.

According to TV by the Numbers, Episode 9, "Rock in the Road," earned just a hair under 12 million viewers -- not bad, especially since it was opposite the Grammys -- and a 5.7 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic. That's a 12 percent rise in the demo, and 13 percent in overall viewers. For comparison's sake, TV by the Numbers reports, Season 6's midseason premiere was down slightly from the fall finale; Season 5's was up 5 percent; Season 4's spiked 34 percent; and Season 3's improved 13 percent.

Here are Season 7's overall viewers and ratings so far:

• Episode 1: 17.03 million, 8.4 rating (18-49)

• Episode 2: 12.46 million, 6.1

• Episode 3: 11.72 million, 5.7

• Episode 4: 11.40 million, 5.4

• Episode 5: 11 million, 5.2

• Episode 6: 10.40 million, 4.9

• Episode 7: 10.48 million, 4.9

• Episode 8: 10.58 million, 5.1

• Episode 9: 11.99 million, 5.7

The start of the season was a serious downer, and that was reflected in the numbers. A lot of folks tuned in for the premiere just to see who Negan killed, then walked away. But Episode 9 was an old school episode, suggesting the show really is back to doing what the fans know and love. Episode 10 should either retain these Sunday night numbers or maybe even climb higher, since there isn't as much competition. However, the Feb. 26 Episode 11 is on its own, since it will be opposite the Oscars.

"The Walking Dead" Season 7 continues Sunday, Feb. 19 with Episode 10, "New Best Friends," at 9 p.m. on AMC. Check out all the promos here.

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