'Walking Dead' Season 3 Premiere Sets New Records
Biggest Viewer Total Ever for a Basic Cable Drama
Published: 10/15/2012 03:59pm
Last night’s premiere episode of Season 3 of AMC adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead attracted the most viewers in the series’ history and set a new record with the most viewers ever for a basic cable drama series. The finale of Season 2 set the previous records for The Walking Dead with a total of 9 million viewers for the first broadcast of the final episode (see "'The Walking Dead' Season 2 Sets New Records"), but the premiere of Season 3 drew a giant audience of 10.9 million, up 17.5% from the previous record.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the broadcast of the premiere episode of Season 3 managed to corral 7.3 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 versus 6 million for the finale of Season 2. Including the audience numbers for the other two showings of the premiere last night, the episode managed to lure a gargantuan 15.2 million viewers (a huge increase over the 10.2 million that saw the repeated first-day viewings of finale of Season 2)--and this was accomplished in spite of the fact that the Dish Satellite Network, which serves some 14 million U.S. households, did not carry the series due to an ongoing dispute between Dish and the AMC network.
The potent performance of The Walking Dead Season 3 premiere also boosted the ratings of Chris Hardwicke’s post-Walking Dead talk show, The Talking Dead, which drew 2.1 million dedicated fan viewers, a total that was up 85% from last year’s premiere of Hardwicke’s show. The majority of The Talking Dead’s audience (1.5 million) was also in the coveted 18-49 demo, an increase of 92% from last year.
These numbers indicate that, in spite of the proliferation of zombies in every aspect of pop culture that has occurred since the successful debut of the AMC series three years ago, The Walking Dead is still a phenomenon on the rise. It is still the zombie show with an appeal that far outdistances its imitators. Of course it also means that retailers should expect solid steady sales of TWD graphic novels, comics, games, and toys.
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