'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

Written By

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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  • Carter

    about 10 mill. people heard “NOT ON DISH!”

  • Meanie


    I mean ratings wise. This is why AMC && Dish had the dispute. Mad Men & Breaking Bas was a critical acclaim show and had good views 3mill mostly each episode, but not a huge ratings success as TWD.

    That’s why Dish didn’t want to pay more for AMC cause they feel people are only watching AMC for one show(TWD). Cable carriers don’t care bout Emmy’s Oscars, etc they care how many heada are tuning in.

  • Valerie

    Great numbers! TWD is the best!

  • John

    Awesome Episode last night.Great Ratings. I did DVR and watched after i got home from the Texans Packers football game GO PACKERS!!!!!! the episode was as good as i thought it would be..excellent and often Zombie Kills!!~!! And i guess any cast member is vulnerable to be a snack for the Zombies….

  • Oliver

    It’s slightly disappointing that AMC aren’t using these frankly ridiculous ratings to launch a new scripted show.

  • fra

    WALKING DEAD IS HUGEEEE i can’t believe it!!!
    On a Broadcast network would score a 8.0 O.o

  • john

    I wonder just how many Nielsen families have Dish? Both Breaking Bad and Walking Dead have been seemingly unaffected by the absence of Dish Network. That data is probably unavailable. I am so excited for this titanic rating. It beat Revenge and Good Wife combined in the demo.

  • WHAT?

    What the *beep* ?? How does this show gets such high ratings? It’s terrible, I just can’t believe this…! :L

  • DW

    again it isn’t a pay dispute between the amc networks and dish. its a billion dollar lawsuit. if it was just a pay dispute each side would settle and the channels would be back up and running on dish.

  • john

    The Voice wishes it were The Walking Dead!

  • Brandon

    ^ you just haven’t seen a decent Drama scripted show in awhile is all. All that reality tv is rotting the brain.

  • Chris

    What’s the highest rated network television non-sports program among 18-49? I think The Walking Dead actually beat EVERYTHING on broadcast except Sunday Night Football. And it might actually have a shot at catching SNF if it continues to grow. It’s absolutely DEVOURING the competition.

  • MoHasanie

    What’s amazing, is that its hitting such a huge series high in its third season.
    Also, when was the last time a drama got 5.0+? Was it Glee or Grey’s? I’m not sure.

  • DW

    its not devouring the competition since revenge and the good wife were about the same as last week.

  • gerry

    good for wd, those are beast numbers for cable. amc must be through the roof. and for cable? yes, obviously s4 announcements will be made shortly.

  • Kyle7

    @mayorofsimpleton: Good points. I don’t use Netflix or other streaming services, so I’m rather unaware of what is and isn’t available on them. Maybe the networks should get more aggressive with making past seasons of their shows available; expecting potential viewers to pony up for at least one season box set if they want to get into a show is unreasonable and I’m guessing most are not willing to make that plunge.

    As a point of speculation, would Once Upon a Time have gained a lot of viewers if it had been easily streamable over the summer? It debuted surprisingly well and managed to hold on to most of its audience throughout the season, so it likely had decent word-of-mouth (enough people liking it enough to stay with it through a full 22 episodes suggests they must have told other people it was at least somewhat good). This season, though, it didn’t debut any higher than the series premiere. Like last season, it’ll probably bounce around the upper 2’s or lower 3’s for most of the year, which is pretty good in today’s TV landscape, but it seems like there was an opportunity to grow the audience even more.



    So it’s safe to say TWD was #1 @ 9:00 in entertainment programming

  • Doug

    TWD is going to wind up the highest rated show on TV this season, outside of football.

    AMC needs to pony up for 22 episodes – they must be raking it in.

  • East

    YAY FOR TWD! Can’t wait for seasons 4-20!!!!!!!!! My only must see TV show besides The Voice.

  • Lucas

    @Meanie I know, but BB is still better rated than most of the cable shows.

    But I’d argue that’s still not enough.

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