Ratings: The Walking Dead Kills Cable Records


The zombie takeover of TV continues: Sunday's season-three premiere of The Walking Dead drew a drop-dead amazing 10.9 million viewers to AMC at 9 p.m., shattering all sorts of records in the process. Not only was it the most-watched episode ever of the show, it was also the most-watched episode of any basic cable drama series ever. And among viewers under 50, Dead drew 7.3 million viewers, garnering higher Nielsen numbers than stalwarts such as Modern Family, The Voice, and The Big Bang Theory.

Want more superlatives? Okay: Not only did Dead beat every entertainment show on network TV Sunday, it was also up 20 percent from last spring's season two finale (9 million) and a jaw-dropping 50 percent versus last fall's season two debut (7.3 million). Also, if you toss in last night's encore telecasts, Dead actually reached 15.2 million viewers (with more to be counted via DVR and video on demand). But here's our favorite factoid about the show's ratings performance: If you add up tune-in for the most recent season-premiere episode of AMC's Mad Men (3.5 million), Breaking Bad (2.9 million), Hell on Wheels (2.5 million), and since-canceled The Killing (1.8 million), you get 10.7 million viewers — still 200,000 viewers below the ratings of last night's monster mash. AMC should be very, very grateful for Dead.