AMC's 'The Walking Dead’ Takes Bite Out Of Cable Ratings Record

Sunday night’s season-three premiere episode of AMC’s zombie-themed series The Walking Dead devoured a ratings record for an ad-supported series.

The series drew 10.9 million viewers with its Oct. 14 season-three debut, according to Nielsen live + same-day data, besting the 9.2 million viewers garnered by a Dec. 4 episode USA’s Monk, according to AMC officials. The viewership was up 50% over its second-season bow.

The Walking Dead encored at 10 p.m. with 3.5 million viewers and midnight with 850,000 viewers, amassing 15.2 million viewers for the night.

The Walking Dead episode also pulled 7.3 million 18-to-49 viewers, besting its own viewership record set last year with the demo Madison Avenue favors most set last year.

The deliveries came despite the absence of Dish Network subscribers. The No. 2 DBS provider dropped AMC and network stablemates IFC, Sundance Channel and WeTV this summer. The parties are currently engaged in a trial in New York over Voom HD, the high-definition suite of networks formerly operated by AMC Networks' predecessor company, Rainbow Media Holdings.

In addition, the season two premiere of Walking Dead companion show Talking Dead. attracted 2.1 million viewers, growing 85% over the season one premiere.

“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,” said AMC president Charlie Collier in a statement. 

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.