The Walking Dead has done it again. This should go a long way in dispelling any notion that the success AMC has had with their zombie drama has been a fluke as the series continues to crush basic cable records. It was just announced that the show has surged 50% in viewership over last year’s premiere to 10.9 million first-run live viewers and 15.2 million in total. The ‘record’ from all this is very specific, so do not be misled here by all the buzz.
First run viewership was above that of any other scripted drama series on basic cable with the exception of Hatfield & McCoys which debuted this past summer to 13 million. The reason you will see AMC claim they stole the record from History’s mini-series is because The Walking Dead has a bigger combined audience with repeats as that number exceeds 15 million. In a way they won, but not in the way that matters although, when you look at these figures, it is hard to find a loser.
All this is accomplished against the grain of a Dish dispute that the network has, meaning that the pool of prospective viewers is down 10-15% below what is considered normal. In effect, this cheated The Walking Dead out of another 1 million viewers. Putting that aside, here is the network spin complete with misleading commentary.
New York – October 15, 2012 – The biggest show of the fall season among Adults 18-49 is on AMC. Last night, AMC premiered season three of “The Walking Dead” and outdelivered cable and broadcast hits including “Hatfields & McCoys,” “Jersey Shore,” “Modern Family,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Voice.” The 9pm ET premiere garnered 10.9 million viewers and a 7.4 HH rating making it the highest rated episode in series history, and growing more than 50% over last season’s premiere. The season 3 premiere now reigns as the biggest telecast for any drama series in basic cable history among all viewers. “The Walking Dead” encored at 10pm with 3.5 million viewers and midnight with 850,000 viewers delivering 15.2 million viewers for the night. In addition, the season two premiere of “Talking Dead” at 11pm attracted 2.1 million viewers, growing 85% over the season one premiere.
Source: Nielsen Media Research, L+SD. Program premieres and encores, excluding sports. Broadcast season to date (9/24/12 – 10/11/12).
“Thank you to the fans for making ‘The Walking Dead’ such a tremendous success. We are honored and humbled that television’s largest adult audience resides on AMC. So many people on both sides of the camera worked tirelessly on this project, and I thank and congratulate each of them for their amazing contribution,” said Charlie Collier, president of AMC.
Key Nielsen Highlights for the season three premiere “The Walking Dead”:
9pm premiere: 7.4 HH rating, +54% vs. season 2 premiere
9pm premiere: 10.9 million viewers, +50% vs. season 2 premiere
9pm premiere: 7.3 million Adults 18-49, +52% vs season 2 premiere
9pm premiere: 6.1 million Adults 25-54, +46% vs season 2 premiere
9pm,10pm and midnight encores: Grossed to 15.2 million viewers
Key Nielsen Highlights for season two premiere of “Talking Dead”:
o 11pm premiere: 1.7 HH rating with 2.1 million viewers, +69%/+85% vs. season 1
o 11pm premiere: 1.5 million Adults 18-49, +92% vs. season 1 premiere
o 11pm premiere: 1.3 million Adults 25-54, +71% vs. season 1 premiere
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is available on every major television provider except DISH. DISH dropped AMC and its sister networks IFC, WE tv and Sundance Channel, to gain leverage in an unrelated lawsuit.
For the past two years, “The Walking Dead” has received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup (2012/2011). In 2010, “The Walking Dead” secured a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series – Drama. “The Walking Dead” tells the story of the months and years that follow the zombie apocalypse. It tracks a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safety and security.
Season three of “The Walking Dead” is already receiving rave reviews with the New York Post stating that the series is “flat-out scariest, best, most unusual show to ever hit the small screen is back, and I’m loving every sickening minute of it.” Newsday states that season three, “doesn’t disappoint.” The Houston Chronicle declared that, “in less than two years, ‘The Walking Dead’ has jumped into a crowded pop-culture pool of serial killers, vampires and dragons to become a darling of the horror fantasy set.”