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

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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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  • Richard Steven Hack

    Add in the encore it hit SIXTEEN million! 6.1 demo! Just about everyone recognizes the show as a beast compared to network scripted dramas.

    I watch the show, but don’t find it compelling, although this season has been head and shoulders over last season which was terminally boring. I mostly crack up over the explicit zombie head busting and stupidity of the characters, not to mention the basic stupidity of the zombie premise, so I view this show as a comedy! :-)

    Rick, however, is starting to irritate me. How long before he gets killed off? I suspect he may go in this season’s finale. You can’t have a hallucinating psycho running the group. They aren’t afraid to kill off main characters on the show, so it makes sense he’s next to go.

  • TJ

    AMC is ruining this show with it’s asinine scheduling decisions!!! How stupid do you have to be to schedule against the Grammy’s after a long hiatus. The Walking Dead will never recover from this! It is a great show and deserves better ratings!

  • TerryJacksonNYC


    I’m not sure if/when Rick gets killed, but I’m sure you can find out online. The show is following the comics almost exactly as they were written. There are scenes added and removed to make it compelling for TV, but the series is pretty much the same. I’ve seen the first few graphic novels and decided not to look at them anymore, since the show is so closely following them. Still, you can find out the plot EASILY if you look online. My guess is they are going to keep him around… and probably longer than he is in the novels… that’s if he gets killed in the first place.

    The show is basically about Rick and his reactions to everything. He is supposed to keep it together and is failing to keep himself together. That is what is supposed to be most compelling, but I do think last night got a little nuts. I’m pretty sure anybody in that situation would have put him in a cell to rest for a few days. Shane went crazy last season and this can easily happen to anybody in that “situation.”

    I think they are going to mess around more with what it means to be a leader. But they are probably going to start talking about what it really means that everybody is “infected” and people will likely have personality changes as a resulted of this fact. Any “disease” has symptoms long before it takes a person. (This is assuming they are going to try to be realistic in a show that is anything but…)

  • TerryJacksonNYC


    I don’t know if you’re being ironic, but I’m going to assume you are and laugh along with you. The other option is to point out how silly that is. :)

  • richard

    good. i liked it. the fact that some talk show that costs so little to make can outperform all of amc’s oter shows just shows how valuable the walking dead brand is. if they were smart, they would make a spinoff. possibly on involving daryl and merle, though that would most definitely hurt the ratings to TWD

  • somebody

    lol @ TJ. That has to hurt

  • forg

    WOW!What a phenomenon

  • Bjm

    Great job!

  • Bob

    And there you have it. 100 percent the reason that Revenge was down!

  • john

    I like Revenge, but havent been happy with it this year. It’s quality is why its down. It couldnt even get 1/4 of Walking Dead’s rating yesterday.

  • Douglas from Brazil

    Where’s the ABC press release?Nothing ABC?
    ABC execs must be crazy right now…LOL


    Great ratings, love the show, last nights episode was Just okay tho…. AMC is as a network is terrible. Cutting budget of the #1 TV how for a Mad Men, a show that has ran it’s course…. AMC give this show the money it deserves…. I have a feeling it’s too big of a show for AMC

  • SarahL

    A beast! Go Walking Dead!

  • Flarikker

    Like I predicted yesterday TWD would do 6.1+.! Not everyone is into music and fashion (Grammys).

  • outlawz

    if this show was on the #1 channel we would have gotten a spinoff next season

    The Walking Dead:Miami

    The Walking Dead:LA

  • outlawz

    if this show was on the #1 channel we would have gotten a spinoff next season

    The Walking Dead:Miami

    The Walking Dead:LA

  • Ultima

    Where’s the ABC press release?Nothing ABC?

    It came out hours ago. Season high in A18-49 for AFHV! (Seriously)

  • Joe

    TWD got 12.3 million viewers and a 6.1 demo. That’s easily the highest ever on basic cable. Only The Sopranos got numbers this high.

    Does this site know the highest numbers The Sopranos reached in viewers and demo in an episode?

  • Ultima

    TWD got 12.3 million viewers and a 6.1 demo. That’s easily the highest ever on basic cable.

    For a scripted show, yes.

    The cable record is the 2010 BCS National Championship with a 10.1 rating and 27.3 million viewers.

  • TerryJacksonNYC


    The funny thing about your comment is that, even though you were likely joking, the potential for spin-offs is amazing. There are all sorts of ways that people would deal with a zombie apocalypse. There is no reason why, for instance, the two camps the show focuses on right now couldn’t become the focus of their own shows, with occasional cross-overs and everything else that comes with spin-offs. I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but it’s entirely doable, since the audience is there; after all. AMC is already sort of spinning off the show, with The Talking Dead and now The Walking Dead in B&W.

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