'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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  • Tony JJ

    AMAZING!!! WOW. I knew it could break a 5.0! But man a 5.8 (roughly) is insane!! especially on cable and with the ratings these days! Truly incredible. and this just shows that if you get a good program with good enough buzz and viewer attention +netflix. a serialized show can grow year over year.

    I wonder how the finale will rate. (we’ll have to see how the ratings go this season), but we could be looking at more series highs if the ratings continue this way

  • brenpo7

    I guess the only survivor from the zombie apocalypse is The Sopranos.

  • The End


    You’re right. This isn’t going to help Dish at all in their dispute with AMC over carriage costs. That said AMC if the numbers hold can hold out for as long as they need too, as customers will pile the pressure on Dish to resolve the dispute and they’l have no choice but to cave in or risk losing customers.

    Personally although I think these numbers are incredible, I’m unsure if they will hold. I’m thinking next weeks numbers will drop to around 8 million till the mid season finale where, simply put the show will blow peoples minds with the reported figures. Think 13 million+.

  • richard

    also, i love how talking dead can pull the same amount of views as amcs other shows, and it costs like forty dollars to produce ;)

  • Meanie

    This is AMC flagship show with 10million viewers. I won’t be surpised if they drag out the success of this show for many seasons. Cause honestly nobody watches AMC if wasn’t for TWD.

    Good episode though.

  • Kyle7

    @The End:

    I’m pretty sure most of the mid-season episodes will be lower, as well. But averaging a 4.7 or something is nothing to sneeze at. Crazy that its normal-episode ratings could drop a full demo point or more and still be higher than almost every other scripted show.

  • Lucas


    “nobody watches AMC”
    what about Breaking Bad?

  • Jared

    Huge ratings..huge viewership..now this is how you do a horror series.

  • s0303

    omg…that’s more than the football game!!!!!!!! how is that even possible?????

  • James

    YEAH!! OH! it was a pretty good Premiere.

  • CrystalBall

    This just shows you how bad writting, bad acting, inconsistent storyline and plots doesn’t matter that much in a tv show, you just need an original concept and some gimmicks …

  • richard

    twd and breaking bad are so good. i miss awake, boomtown, malcolm in the midddle.

    justifed (only seen seasons 1 and 2 so far) and dexter are also amazing.
    dexter is really good this season. back to the qulaity of the older seasons that wasnt there in season 6. im waiting til justified season 3 comes out on dvd, but i know it has more boomtown alumni in season 3 (neal mcdonough and mykelti williamson)

  • D. Fernandes

    Holy crap, that was unexpected. 5.8 adults 18-49 most be a point ahead of Modern Family and Big Bang Theory and almost two pointos ahead of The Voice. Did any drama did at least 3.8 18-49 this season? Talk about lapping the field…

  • mayorofsmpleton


    Jumping into cable shows is easier. Usually there’s a longer break in between new episodes (sometimes 30-40 weeks) during which time the episodes are available (in many cases) on streaming services for those wishing to catch up. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, etc.

    With broadcast usually the previous season doesn’t show up right away via streaming (usually not prior to the next season’s premiere) so aside from buying the DVDs and Blu-ray discs of a given network show there’s not much in the way of catching up if you’ve not been following it. Not to mention, usually the DVD release is timed within 1-2 weeks of a premiere. Giving you about 14 days to consume what amount to 20-24 episodes of a given show. Some network shows have their full seasons available on Hulu but only to Hulu+ subscribers.

    Anyone interested in TWD can catch up via netflix (and for a long while). Also when a series keeps building word of mouth and is already popular it tends to get spoken of more frequently — thus adding to the sampling. “Oh, The Walking Dead. I’ve heard 3 people mention this to me… it’s on Netflix. I’m going to check that out…”

    I’m amazed at the size of the numbers but not really surprised. It’s definitely a water-cooler show.

  • Juan

    Wow that’s amazing, I’ve watched the first season and it was ok, I’ll watch the next season since its on Netflix now, these are huge ratings though, now I’m very happy that revenge went up even against this giant.

  • Babygate

    I wonder if this affected Revenge at all.

  • Colin

    How can AMC be so stupid not to use this huge lead-in for a new series?

  • mayorofsmpleton


    Tell me, what’s the original story of The Walking Dead? It’s based on a graphic novel that apes the entire concept from far better zombie stories.

    It’s all gimmick. Great cinematography. Fantastic effects work. Dreadful writing. Awful acting. Such a shame because if it could pull together in other aspects it would really be an amazing series. As it is, it’s above MOST of the nonsense on network television but it just can’t stand next to the work of the far greater hour longs cable has to offer.

  • were123

    5.7 rating? Wow, there’s no show on television right now that have ever hit that! I’m glad that that huge rating didn’t affect Revenge, and at the same time that The Walking Dead could be so huge!

  • The End


    To be fair, what you’ve just said is more matter of opinion and bares no relation to the quality of the show.

    Personally I thought the opening episode of Season 3 was well paced and went neither too fast or slow.

    They’ve established that the group are desperate, they want a shelter, they now act and operate like a normal ‘survival’ type group, watching each others backs and acting like a family in that regard, no one gets left behind, people are generally valued.

    I found the prison location used to be fantastic though, this pretty much exceeded expectations, they have the perfect area to tell the story, the outside is big enough for some decent action scenes, the interior large enough so the characters aren’t all in each others faces for the entirety of the season.


    In regards to the mid season finale episode I was thinking more along the lines of this might be overly hyped as some kind of cliffhanger game changing episode that leaves viewers desperate for more, maybe some important character could be killed off, or they leave the Prison?

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