'The Walking Dead' Premiere Delivers Largest Audience in Series History With 12.3 Million Viewers

Categories: 1-Featured,Network TV Press Releases

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February 11th, 2013


The Walking Dead premiere earned a series high 6.1 adults 18-49 rating. Your predictions were about right.

via press release:











New York, NY – February 11, 2013 – Last night, AMC’s mid-season three premiere of “The Walking Dead” returned with its largest audience ever in series history delivering 12.3 million viewers at the 9pm premiere.  The previous record was 10.9 million viewers from the season three premiere on October 14, 2012. The episode is also the strongest telecast for a series in basic cable history for adults 18-49 with 7.7 million. These results shatter the hit series’ previous record with an increase of +6% (A18-49) over the October 14, 2012 season three premiere. “The Walking Dead” season three series average for adults 18-49 delivers 6.8 million outperforming other television series season averages including “Modern Family,” ‘The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and A Half Men,” and “NCIS.”  In addition to the 9 PM premiere, the show encored at 11 PM, midnight and 2am, delivering 16.6 million viewers for the night.


Following the 9 PM premiere of “The Walking Dead,” AMC premiered a new episode of “Talking Dead” at 10 PM. 4.1 million viewers tuned in to the live show.  Hosted by Chris Hardwick, “Talking Dead” is a companion series to “The Walking Dead” and features Hardwick and fans, actors, producers and other TV enthusiasts, discussing and dissecting that night’s “Dead” premiere. The series expanded to a full hour with the final 8 episodes of season three.


"When you look at numbers like this, the first thing that comes to mind is how grateful we are to the fans of this show.  They embrace ‘The Walking Dead’ in a way that we wanted to believe was possible but we never take for granted,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “The cast and crew put everything they have into making this show. They’re a phenomenally talented group who truly give their all. We congratulate everyone involved.”


Key Nielsen Highlights for the season three B premiere of “The Walking Dead”:


  • 9pm airing – 7.3 HH rating with 12.3 million viewers; a +40%/+51% increase respectively over last year’s season 2B premiere
  • 9pm airing - Adults 18-49 delivered 7.7 million viewers; a +44%  increase over last year’s season 2B premiere
  • 9pm airing - Adults 25-54 delivered 6.7 million viewers; a +51% increase over last year’s season 2B premiere.
  • 9p premiere, 11p, midnight and 2a airings grossed to 16.6 million viewers, 10.7 million Adults 18-49 and 8.9 million Adults 25-54


Key Nielsen Highlights for the season three B premiere of “Talking Dead”:


  • 10pm:         2.6 HH rating with 4.1 million viewers, +225%/+371% vs. last year’s season 2B premiere.
  • 10pm:         2.7 million Adults 18-49, +396% vs. last year’s season 2B premiere.
  • 10pm:         2.3 million Adults 25-54, +369% vs. last year’s season 2B premiere.


Source: Nielsen. Live+SD. M-Sa 8P-11P/Su 7P-11P. The Walking Dead Season 3B Premiere (2/10/13); Season 3 To Date 10/14/12-2/10/13 vs. 12/13 Season to Date (9/24/12-2/7/13) Broadcast and Cable.  9/13/93-2/7/12,   Ad Supported Cable, Telecast Level Data.  Excluding Sports, News, Specials.  A18-49 (000).  3B Premiere (2/10/13) vs 2B Premiere (2/12/12).  Qual Avail Upon Request. 


Hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “the greatest thriller ever produced for television,” “The Walking Dead” has become a juggernaut on social media. The series currently has close to 15 million likes on Facebook and last night “The Walking Dead” was a top trend on Twitter for the night of the mid-season premiere. Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, the Emmy Award-winning series tells the story of the months and years that follow the zombie apocalypse. It follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safe and secure home.


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,” “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.  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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  • Skylar James

    Incredible ratings! There is no stopping this show

  • Shepherd


    It set a viewing record against the Grammys last year too. No big surprise really.

  • Jeremy

    DID yall notice that AMC isnt doin a encore of the walking dead episode after the initial one!! Maybe they realized that doing such hurt there initial ratings..

    Me personally I always thought that was stupid. You always want to maximize your ratings doing an encore after the initial episode gave the viewer another chance and in doing so hurt your ratings!!!!!!

  • Ultima

    Just think of how great the ratings would have been if AMC weren’t stupid enough to air a serialized show against a big event like the Grammys!


  • Pushindazees

    I hope this encourages AMC to give this show the budget and the support it deserves. Last night’s episode was not its strongest, but even with some frustration for how some of the storytelling diverged from what we expect from our characters its still the best show on tv right now.

  • Shepherd

    @Holly, Ultima

    LOl, you’re both bad! :)

  • JC

    Those are ridiculous numbers, especially in this day and age. If this show isn’t renewed already I’m sure we’ll be hearing something before the month is done.

  • gerry

    i sincerely doubt TWD and the grammys share quite the same fan base as Revenge and the grammys, but you are still both funny ladies @ultima and @holly :)

  • Meanie

    TWD I a beast. I wonder how much they are charging for advertisment now. I know before they charged 350,000 dollars AMC is going to be making some serious money.

    If AMC is smart they would premiere a show after TWD next season to keep the momentum and keep the money coming in. (If they do premiere a show it should be something that fits the TWD demographic & audience)

  • DW

    OMG!!! it had better ratings than do no harm. unbelievable. the sad part about the press release is that 4 million stayed around to watch the talking dead. ” hello”?. “who is this”?. “Oh my god . its the craft services guy for the walking dead on the phone”.

  • Boo Boo Bear

    JC…It has been renewed. They are already working on scrips for next season.

  • Skylar James

    Surprised AMC havent used TWD as an anchor to a new show

  • William

    I love that show! this just goes to show you people like there tv uncut, unedited & uncensored! I know the networks do it to protect kids & old people, but kids these days watch porn on the internet, so they have seen it all.

  • don

    like i said it will crush the rating and it did

  • CookyMonzta

    Well, well, well…Dystopia runs the show! Can you imagine how many more viewers this episode would have drawn, had they waited another week and let the Grammy Awards have the night? And what if they were on network television?

    What is the most-watched program/episode in cable history? I know that ‘High School Musical 2′ drew 17.2 million, but I’m thinking that an NFL Monday Night Football game on ESPN drew even more.

  • JC

    Not in the least surprised Boo Boo Bear.

  • John A

    Yes great numbers. So proud of TWD.

  • PurpleDrasi

    @CookyMonzta – If they were on Network television the censors would make them cut out half the stuff they show and it wouldn’t be as good (nor as popular with the fans I thnk.)

    Correct me if I wrong but I think the Network that was suppose to get this show was NBC. Thanks god they passed on it. It would have been canceled after the first two episodes.

  • CookyMonzta

    @Meanie: At this point, they can name their price. Vampires are out, zombies are in! Aliens are desperately trying to make a comeback, and if a producer has his way, he’ll try and get lycans (werewolves) back in the game! :-)

  • Sam

    higher than expected but this is still freaking high. I still can’t believe a cable show is beating American Idol. I’m also pretty sure the show’s budget is pretty low in comparison with other broadcast shows.

    Good for them anyway.

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