‘Walking Dead’ Tackles ESPN Football In Ratings

AMC’s juggernaut drama series The Walking Dead continued to outpace ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast for top ratings honors among cable shows last week.

The Walking Dead drew 15.1 million viewers for the second episode of its fifth season this past Sunday, outdistancing the 12 million viewers ESPN drew for its San Francisco 49’ers-St. Louis Rams Oct. 13 MNF telecast, said network officials.

The Walking Dead’s numbers were down from the cable record 17.3 million viewers the series devoured during its Oct. 12 seaon five premiere, which that week beat out ESPN’s Oct. 6 Seattle Seahawks-Washington Redskins MNF telecast.

ESPN was the most watched cable network for the week of Oct. 13 to Oct. 19, averaging 2.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen. TBS finished second with 1.9 million viewers for the week, followed by Fox News, Disney Channel and USA Network, all tied with 1.7 million viewers.

Nickelodeon and Disney Channel finished in a tie for first place on a 24-hour basis with 1.2 million viewers as both kids-targeted networks continue to roll out Halloween-themed programming. ESPN and Adult Swim followed close behind with 1.1 million viewers each, according to Nielsen.

Most Watched Cable Shows For The Week Of Oct. 13 – 19

DateShowNetwork Total Viewers

10/19    The Walking Dead                                        AMC                 15.1 million

10/13    Monday Night Football: 49’ers-Rams        ESPN                12.7 million

10/14    MLB Playoffs – Royals-Orioles                   TBS                     6.0 million

10/19    Talking Dead                                                 AMC                    5.1 million

10/15    MLB Playoffs – Giants-Cardinals                FS1                     5.0 million

10/16    MLB Playoffs – Giants-Cardinals                FS1                     4.8 million

10/15    American Horror Story: Freak Show           FX                       4.5 million

10/14    Sons Of Anarchy                                            FX                       4.4 million

10/19    NASCAR Sprint Cup                                    ESPN                  4.3 million

10/15    MLB Playoffs – Royals-Orioles                   TBS                      3.9 million

Source: Nielsen

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.