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The Walking Dead: Mid-Season Premiere Breaks Ratings Records

Walking Dead ratingsIt was a night of big ratings for AMC and The Walking Dead last night. The Grammys may have taken a big bite out of the numbers for several primtime shows last night — Pan Am, Desperate Housewives, Family Guy, Napoleon Dynamite — but apparently the competition couldn’t hurt the zombies.

Last night’s Walking Dead mid-season premiere drew a whopping 5.4 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic and 8.1 million total viewers. That’s the best demo number for a drama on basic cable in history. It’s 12% higher than the previous record-breaker — the season two debut of Walking Dead in October 2011.

Here’s a press release from AMC with some additional details:

AMC’S “THE WALKING DEAD” MID-SEASON TWO PREMIERE REIGNS AS THE STRONGEST DRAMA TELECAST IN BASIC CABLE HISTORY AGAINST KEY DEMOS

8.1 MILLION VIEWERS

5.4 MILLION ADULTS 18-49

4.4 MILLION ADULTS 25-54

New York, NY – February 13, 2012 – Last night, AMC’s mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” became the strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history against key demos including 5.4 million adults 18-49 and 4.4 million adults 25-54. These results shatter the previous record, which was held by the series two premiere from October 16th with increases of +12% and +6% respectively. The show delivered 8.1 million viewers for its 9pm premiere and delivered 10.1 million viewers for the night (9pm premiere and 11pm and 12:30 am encores). At 10pm, AMC also premiered its newest unscripted series, “Comic Book Men,” executive produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy), Charlie Corwin’s Original Media (LA Ink, Storm Chasers, Swamp People) and Elyse Seiden (Red State). The series delivered 2 million total viewers.

Source: The Nielsen Company, Live+SD, M-Su/8P-11P (telecast level data, originals, series-drama program type, 1993-2/12/12). Strongest telecast among A18-49 and A25-54 AA (000).

“It is a great night for AMC. We’re thrilled to see this incredible record breaking response to ‘The Walking Dead,’ and ‘Comic Book Men’ is off to a strong start as well. Congratulations to the teams behind both of these shows,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president.

Following are the Key Nielsen Highlights:

Mid-season two premiere “The Walking Dead”:

· 9pm airing – 5.2 HH rating with 8.1 million viewers

· 9pm airing – Adults 18-49 delivered 5.4 million viewers

· 9pm airing – Adults 25-54 delivered 4.4 million viewers

· 9 pm, 11 pm and 12:30 am airings – 10.1 million viewers

“The Walking Dead” is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics. Glen Mazzara serves as series’ showrunner and executive producer. Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Frank Darabont are executive producers with Greg Nicotero as co-executive producer. Season two of the critically acclaimed global hit series continues to deliver the strongest telecasts for any drama in basic cable history against Adults 18-49, as well as, top international pay-TV ratings on Fox International Channels’ (FIC) major markets.

At 10pm, the network premiered its newest unscripted series “Comic Book Men,”

Premiere of “Comic Book Men”

· 10pm airing – 1.3 HH rating with 2 million viewers

· 10pm airing – Adults 18-49 delivered 1.3 million viewers

· 10pm airing – Adults 25-54 delivered 1.1 million viewers

Executive produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma, Chasing Amy), Charlie Corwin’s Original Media (LA Ink, Storm Chasers, Swamp People) and Elyse Seiden (Red State), the six-part series dives deep into fanboy culture by following the antics in and around master fanboy Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, where both staff and customers geek out over mind-blowing pop culture artifacts and the legends behind them.

Leading the crew behind the Secret Stash counter are moody manager Walt, uber-nerd Mike, career slacker Brian, and Ming, the shop’s go-to whipping boy. As the team buys, sells and discovers the treasures of the comic collecting world, they share all the juicy details with Kevin through their outrageous podcast, which is woven throughout the series.

About AMC

AMC reigns as the only cable network in history to ever win the Emmy(R) Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, as well as the Golden Globe(R) Award for Best Television Series – Drama for three consecutive years. 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,” “The Killing” 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. Available in more than 97 million homes (Source: Nielsen Media Research), 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.

What do you think? Were you watching the zombies last night? Does the success of this show surprise you?

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Garbage February 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm

The show is garbage. Season 1 was amazing. Season 2 was a soap opera and the slowest TV I have ever watched. It ended with the girl shot and we figured that would make the rest of the gang realize that life isn’t quite what it was before. NOPE! More of the same dialogue repeated over and over again. The show has gone in to the tank. Time to move on. The only reason why the ratings were so high is because everyone had high hopes – sadly they were crushed.

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Kat February 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Garbage? Are you sure you weren’t watching Jersey Shore, instead? Maybe Fear Factor? Let’s be real about the overall quality of The Walking Dead here. I really appreciated the slow, talky pace of the first half of this season! I was relieved for a change of pace, a safe haven, and I thought every choice they made (the people making the show) was the right one for the story — and the story is what’s supposed to come first, not thrill-of-the-week zombiepades. It’s a highly watchable, well done show, and that’s why ratings are so high — not only domestically, but abroad as well.

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Michael setliff February 14, 2012 at 11:55 am

One of the best shows on.

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Jim February 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

We came back hoping that with the girl dead, the story would get better! Like season 1!

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Kat February 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

“taken a big bite out of” — hah! Anyway, yay! I love this show! Not much else to say. Hopefully the season finale will have even bigger numbers.

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Mikey.B February 14, 2012 at 1:36 am

I love The Walking Dead!

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Craig February 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Got to love zombies! I was also impressed with the ratings for the Grammy Awards. I don’t know what portion of the increased ratings were a result of Adele or Whitney, but this is probably the closest the ratings will ever get to that amazing 1984 show.

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Darksidehearts February 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Seriously, it’s show about Zombies and survival. “The Walking Dead” is reminiscent of some of the classics. To me it feels like a weekly movie. Who wouldn’t watch this action packed series versus an award show?

Not to mention since every single talk show in the world will give a play-by-play of what happened in the award show the next day I doubt you would miss anything.

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