"The Walking Dead" drew 10.9 million total viewers. It now ranks as the biggest telecast of any drama series in basic-cable history.
Zombie Freedom at last.
The US has gone from a corrupt monopoly of three networks to true Freedom of choice of dozens and dozens of channels. And Freedom has given us Zombies. Life is good . . . at least for the living.
Zombies must eat human flesh. And they're kind of partial to Nielsen ratings too, if the huge numbers for AMC's season premiere of "The Walking Dead" are any indication.
In another sign of the growing programming power of cable TV, Sunday's Season 3 rollout of the zombie drama devoured basic-cable ratings records and also became the highest-rated entertainment premiere among young adults this fall — higher even than "Modern Family" and "The Voice," not to mention "Revolution" and "Vegas" and all the other new series the broadcasters have put on reports the Los Angeles Times.
The 9 p.m. premiere of "Walking Dead" drew 10.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That's a 50% hike over the Season 2 premiere and now ranks as the biggest telecast of any drama series in basic-cable history. However, HBO still holds the record for all cable networks: the 2002 Season 4 premiere of HBO's "The Sopranos" drew more than 13 million.
Here is the head-to-head comparison of non-sports programming Sunday at 9PM.
- 10.9 million viewers - The Walking Dead (AMC)
- 9.1 million viewers - The Good Wife (CBS)
- 8.2 million viewers - Revenge (ABC)
The Walking Dead Season 3 Comic-Con Trailer
But that's not all. "Walking Dead" also scored 7.3 million viewers in the key category of adults ages 18 to 49, which is the main category the entertainment networks sell to advertisers. "Walking Dead" did better on that score than all the new and returning fall shows.
The zombie series' performance was even more extraordinary considering that AMC is not currently carried on the Dish Network, the satellite service with 14.3 million subscribers. As part of an ongoing contractual dispute, Dish dropped AMC at the end of June; the network has responded with ads urging customers to leave Dish and sign with another provider. Without the Dish feud, "Walking Dead's" ratings would almost certainly have crept even higher.