October 17, 2011

THE SKED: “Walking Dead” Devours Ratings Records

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Frank Darabont who?  AMC returned THE WALKING DEAD to its schedule last night, and viewers were as ravenous for it as its monsters are for human flesh.  The show did an incredible 3.8 rating in 18-49s, outrating everything on network television except football.  That was up 25% from last season’s already-smash seaon finale, and 36% above the season average.  Plus millions more people watched the show in re-airings through the night, so the cumulative number may be more like a 5+.  Overall, the 11 million people who tuned in last night set a new record for the highest rated drama in basic cable history.

With a lead-in like that, even though TALKING DEAD, the network’s try at a post-episode talk show, lost most of Dead‘s audience, it still did quite well compared to normal AMC programming, with around a 0.7 in 18-49s.

The big question for AMC is whether it’ll be able to parlay DEAD‘s huge success into an audience for its new (and not terribly compatible) HELL ON WHEELS, which will follow Dead on November 6.  See our pilot report here.    

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."