'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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  • Oliver

    Yes, it did outrate all non-NFL programming. The highest rated show of the season was the premirere of Modern Family, which got 5.5 in 18-49.

  • Ike

    Last night, this show produced an episode that deserved its high rating. But the show has always been good at season premieres. In the coming weeks, we’ll see if the writers are able to make these characters even remotely likeable, or if they’ll still be excruciatingly annoying smeg-heads who deserve to get devoured by zombies.

    The first half of S2 (except for the traffic jam in the premiere) was the absolute nadir. It’s amazing that anybody kept watching the show after that. No wonder Darabont got fired. The show improved immediately after AMC threw him out, but the characters still aren’t very interesting… yet.

    People clearly keep watching for the awesome action scenes and zombie kills. They’re just putting up with the characters to get to the next action scene.

    But these amazing ratings show just how far you can get with a good action scene.

    The CW’s Nikita is an underrated action show with great action scenes — maybe they should add zombies to get better ratings! Heh.

  • k:Alex

    And this is only America, online it’s today’s most watched episode.
    And some people say that the zombie rage is over??…

  • Ike

    @Doug, with all the time needed for prosthetics and makeup for the zombies, they may not be able to produce 22. They’re doing 16 this year. That might be the absolute limit with everybody working around the clock. Immaculately disgusting zombies don’t grow on trees.

  • Jesse

    Walking dead would be the highest rated show on broadcast as well. Modern Family and Big Bang Theory would get smacked down.

  • Ben Thompson

    So much for Dish. :D

  • Alienware

    5.8 that’s INSANE. 54 episodes order coming in 3,2,1

  • steve

    @Ike I certainly don’t just watch it for the zombie kills I love the characters and there’s prob many feel same way

  • Jon

    What is the most watched basic cable episode of all time?

  • MattM

    BOOM! Suck it Dish.

  • Jen

    @Jon I think the previous record was held by The Closer which had just under 10 mil in total viewers.

  • Oliver

    In all seriousness, AMC should be scrambling to buy some original programmming to put after TWD. How much do you think it would cost to get ABC to hand over Last Resort?

    I’m not kidding. I bet at least a third of TWD’s audience would stick around to watch it.

  • Bjm

    Hooray for WD!

  • omabin


    that would be utterly amazing, but it will never happen, unfortunately.

    Coming back to reality after these news, I could not be happier. I’ve said yesterday… Among the insane amount of shows that I watch, from all different kinds, if there is one I would dare to call my favorite is the amazing The Walking Dead. Led by the tremendously underrated Andew Lincoln and the always graceful Sarah Wayne Callies, the show just keeps me on the edge of my seat every single moment and just completely makes me forget about everything else. If that’s not the best form of entertainment, I do not know what is. These ratings are completely well deserved.

  • Nope

    awesome news

  • omabin

    Also, a season 4 renewal should come at any moment. Not that it was ever in question.

  • Dan S

    TWD rules & sorry to Dish customers missing out on a great show last night. Just waiting for the major nets to come out with a zombie clone that’ll pale in comparison.

  • brenpo7

    @Jon I think the previous record was held by Monk series finale with 9.44 million.

  • William

    great episode and great series

  • Richard Steven Hack

    OK, I watched it. It was much better than the first half of last season which was unbelievably boring.

    I’ll watch the next episode to see where it goes. Still won’t save it on my hard drive, though, as zombies tend to bore me (which doesn’t detract from my argument that they need more zombie action on the show – this week did have that, thankfully.) The special effects on this show, however, are really excellent, I must admit.

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