'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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  • Sarah


    No, it doesn’t. As someone who reads the comics, I can tell you that while certain elements & scenes are the same, the show has made it entirely different. If it were the exact same as the comics, then Lori, Dale, & Sophia would still be alive & Andrea would never have been separated from the group.

    Personally, I love that they did that so even readers of the comic don’t even know what’s gonna happen

  • Shepherd


    This biggest problem I see with trying to do a Walking Dead ‘spin-off’ is that the story for TWD is basically pre-written and handed to them on a silver platter. IMO any spin-off would be a joke. I also like to think that AMC has more integrity than to try and do a spin-off. They seem more about original programming than any other network out there right now; I’d much rather see them continue to put out new shows, even if some of them fail a la Rubicon.

  • Shepherd


    But I did find your comment very amusing. :)

  • Jordan

    Season 4 renewal announcement in 3, 2, 1…

  • Shepherd


    “Season 4 renewal announcement in 3, 2, 1…”

    You mean Season 4 renewal announcement came 1,2,3… time units ago.

  • Ultima
  • Dan S

    Revenge doesn’t fear the bear but the undead. That show took a big bite out of it last night & will likely continue to do so. Too bad the broadcast nets can’t get away with the graphic content that cable can. I know ABC would kill to have a show of this caliber on their network but those pesky decency & broadcast standards gets in the way.

  • Rich

    That is incredible…..I can’t believe the show keeps doing better and better…..

  • Tabitha

    TWD is a massive beast :)

  • LisaM

    Right alongside Big Bang Theory, and this is a cable show. NIce!

  • Douglas from Brazil


    I just saw ABC press release…and I thought it’s sad.

  • TerryJacksonNYC


    Like I said, I only saw the first graphic novel and really didn’t do more than page through it. I recognized all of the things that were on the show and not so much of the things that weren’t. I made the decision to avoid reading them all until after the show is off the air because I don’t want to build any expectations.

    I really don’t think Rick is every going to be killed unless the actor wants out. If that happens, I do hope it’s a surprise and not at the end of a season. E4’s Misfits just managed to kill off the last of its remaining original cast members and it did so four episodes into the fourth series, which was wise. Nobody saw it coming. With a TV show like this, most of the cast will be wiped out ever two or three seasons. Rick must remain the center of it, though… at least for a while.

    (I wouldn’t be against having the show just ten years into the future and having the only remaining person be Carl, as long as he is played by another actor. Since he is going to have a big growth spurt soon, they’re going to have to do something or it’ll have to be handled the way they did Walt on Lost, which was a shame, since he was one of the two or three major protagonists of the first season, but you could see his growth THROUGH the first season, so they had few options. They did eventually move the series three years into the future and TWD has already skipped months here and there. So, yeah, a lot will be changed from the books… more and more with each season.)

  • Verus

    Very impressive numbers but they need to do something to follow up on them and I don´t mean a walking dead talkie that nobody watched but another original show they can push.

    They also need to get rid of borth Hell on Wheels and The Killing those shows got atrocious numbers.

  • Hugh


    When was the last time a drama got more than a 6? Possibly Greys Anatomy a few years ago?

  • Chris

    Cable is where 75% of the GOOD shows are now.

  • James

    Wow, imagine how big the ratings would be if the show was actually good.

  • BxActor


  • Richard Steven Hack

    Holly: “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!”

    Just think how great a show Revenge would be if it could show brains being stamped out of a head! :-)

    I’d say that makes as much sense as the notion that the Grammys AND The Walking Dead had NO impact on Revenge and OUAT.

    Of COURSE it’s POSSIBLE to make a serialized show that does well against special events and OTHER monster rated shows and even against the Super Bowl!

    Gee, I guess there are just DOZENS of those kinds of shows around to prove your point! Oh, wait…

  • KJ Styles

    @Ultima- Nonsense. The reach is 97% for CBS and 84% for AMC. The Walking Dead had a ~7.1 rating for households with AMC, still far below the Grammys with 10.1.

    That’s still 13% fewer homes. Everyone that owns a TV has CBS, the same cannot be said for AMC. Yet the Grammys only had 2 million more viewers.

    And before you go on that “total viewers don’t matter” crap. That rule only applies to shows when it comes to renewal or cancellation. The Grammys will air every year and Walking Dead is the highest rated show on cable. So what it accomplished last night was tremendous.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Bob: “And there you have it. 100 percent the reason that Revenge was down!”

    I wouldn’t go that far. Factor in the Grammys at 10.1 in the demo for a total of 16 in the demo for both shows and it likely did contribute to Revenge’s drop. But probably not entirely.

    I do expect Revenge to bounce up a bit in the next few episodes. They seem to be resolving a number of the subplots shortly so the show should tighten up somewhat which might stabilize the ratings a bit higher than the lows it’s at now.

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