'The Walking Dead' Season 3 Premiere Hits Series High With 10.9 Million Total Viewers & 7.3 Million Adults 18-49

Categories: 1-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

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October 15th, 2012

Depending on the rounding, 7.3 million adults 18-49 work out to be either a 5.7 or 5.8 adults 18-49 rating.

via press release:

The Biggest Show of the Fall Season Among Adults 18-49 is on

"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


  • 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.”

About AMC

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.

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  • Bob Jones

    Sundays – The Walking Dead & Homeland

    TWD is a beast!

  • ender650

    The first episode seemed to have a fairly high budget to me (at least higher than season 2).

  • Mummy

    They will go down to a 4 rating for the 2nd episode, but still monster ratings.

  • scifi

    Why do they have to increase budget? It will mean less money for them.

  • bluejays

    Holy crap! That’s amazing. It is the best show on TV though so well deserved. Those numbers are incredible. Well done to them :)

  • Schmoker

    Anyone think the broadcast networks will look at this and think, “Well, I guess you actually can draw huge viewers to a non-traditional, not by the numbers, not just like every other show on every other network for every year since television began type of show?”

    Or are we just going to see them ignore this and try and regain past ratings glory by producing the next Harry’s Law?

    Thing is, Walking Dead hasn’t even really been any good. Normally that would cause me to drop it in a heartbeat, but I stuck by it because it was at least different from most everything else on television. Even its badness was different (and fun to make fun of), so I stuck it out. A normal bad genre show like Revolution or Terra Nova, I dumped them after literally one episode. But Walking Dead, trying desperately to be different, I stuck with. And lo and behold, if the 3rd season premier is to be trusted, maybe I’m about to be rewarded.

    I just wish the broadcast nets, with all their money and their still significant advantage in potential viewers, would wake the hell up and realize that great shows (or at least great and different concepts) would bring the types of old school viewing numbers they are all chasing after. It doesn’t all have to be genre, but it does seem that what’s drawing the eyeballs most of the time is stuff that isn’t the same old, same old. CBS may do well, but they are merely doing a better job fighting the dying of the old light. The overall decline in broadcast viewing should be telling them something, but for some reason it’s not.

    I look at Last Resort and Revolution, two very different genre shows that have one thing in common. Both are stuck trying to do whatever it is they want to within the severely constricting broadcast network formula, with the same old standards and practices limitations. If anything points up how networks use the same cookie cutter with every type of dough, it’s those two shows.

    So sad.

  • DW

    why a show like the walking dead works so well is that they run it 6 episodes , let the holidays come , let football do its thing and come back after football , nothing around and run 6 more. i know that as much as i enjoy the show im done by episode 6 that season. leave em wanting more.

  • ABCFanatic2012


  • The End


    They’re fortunate in that you don’t need a huge budget to just film in one location(The Prison). It keeps your costs down when you’re not traveling around America on location shooting random scenes.


    Didn’t feel big budget to me. They just had more extras than usual on set. Paying 20-50 random people to play a zombie for a few days is pretty cheap. That said the makeup is pretty awesome.

  • Cassandra @ Book & Movie Dimension a Blog

    I’m so pumped for the rest of Season 3 and just love the discussions of Talking Dead.

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