Zombies are taking over… the Nielsen ratings! AMC’s post-apocalyptic zombie drama The Walking Dead had its Season 3 premiere Sunday night and finished as the highest rated episode of a drama series in basic cable history with 10.9 million viewers, up more than 50% from the Season 2 premiere, and 2 million more than the Season 2 finale episode.
“Thank you to the fans for making The Walking Dead such a tremendous success,” said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, in a press release earlier today. “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.”
Add in the repeat showings at 10pm and midnight, the premiere brought the network a total of 15.2 million viewers! By comparison, the top rated network drama Sunday night was The Mentalist on CBS with 10.62 million viewers. Second place was Once Upon A Time on ABC with 9.14 million viewers.
Also, let’s not forget that AMC and DISH Network still haven’t settled their dispute so the premiere was only available to DISH subscribers via AMC’s web site, which crashed after making the premiere available Sunday night. But, the site has since caught back up with the demand and The Walking Dead Season 3 premiere is once again available online — I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post.
Congratulations to AMC and The Walking Dead! I love the success of basic cable and premium cable shows over the last decade — it has revolutionized the quantity and quality of television programming available. (And yes, that includes reality TV!) Anyways, here is the full premiere episode followed by the press release from AMC:
The Biggest Show of the Fall Season Among Adults 18-49 is on AMC
“The Walking Dead” Outdelivers Cable and Broadcast Hits Including “Hatfields & McCoys,” “Jersey Shore,” “Modern Family,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Voice”
Season Premiere Delivers 10.9M Viewers/7.4 HH (9PM) and 15.2M Viewers/10.7 HH (for Night), up More Than 50% Versus Season Two
Season 3 Premiere Now Reigns as Biggest Telecast for Drama in Basic Cable History Among All Viewers
For the Night, Season Three Delivers 10.3 Million Viewers Adults 18-49, 8.6 Million Viewers Adults 25-54
“Talking Dead” Attracts 2.1M Viewers for Season Two Premiere, up 85%
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 premiere
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.”
AMC reigns as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row. Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, the AMC experience is an uncompromising celebration of great stories. AMC’s original stories include “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead” and “Hell On Wheels.” AMC further demonstrates its commitment to the art of storytelling with its slate of unscripted original series, as well as curated movie franchises like AMC’s Can’t Get Enough and AMC’s Crazy About. AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Story Matters HereSM.