'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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  • Jordan

    @Ultima & Shepherd

    That’s right. I completely forgot about that. “Season 5 renewal” then. ;)

  • Carl

    I think TWD could support a spinoff, because I don’t believe the success of the show is based on the graphic novel itself, but more what was done with the graphic novel. The problem is Frank Darabont, who was a very mixed bag as showrunner but who assembled a fantastic cast, is gone. AMC runs all the talent off. They would probably screw it up. It’s a miracle TWD is not in shambles.

  • Shepherd


  • Ed

    I like the Talking Dead when the guests are good like last night. Kevin Smith should be on all of the time, especially since they’ve changed to an hour. Some guests don’t/can’t have much to say so having Kevin and Chris Hardwick fill in potentially dead (pun intended) air would be good strategy. What struck me last night was that the show is like a book club where a bunch of biddies gab about some lame Jane Austin novel only the Talking Dead talks about a show that is cool/gruesome/current. It is unique on TV. I guess the only thing somewhat comparable is a Survivor Reunion show or something like that. Anyway, Talking Dead should remain right where it is after the TWD so that the show is still fresh in everyone’ mind.

  • CookyMonzta

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

    The Walking Dead:Miami

    The Walking Dead:LA”

    Maybe the writers will consider spreading the disease elsewhere around the world, starting with the U.K., no doubt.

  • CookyMonzta

    @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.”

    That is why the VHF/UHF networks will continue to lose ground to cable. Imagine how far Starz would take ‘The Walking Dead’…

  • CookyMonzta


    Aye. Unfortunately, cable TV has been infested with too much reality TV since 2000. Someone’s got to break out a big can of bug spray to smoke out a great many of those shows, which waste airtime that could otherwise be used for more quality TV.

  • T-bone

    The reason this show has this ratings now is because of the succes of The Walking Dead game witch was the game of the year in 2012 with more then 8 million games sold.

  • Daryl

    It wasn’t even a good TWD episode and the stupid plot twists & talky segments appear to be back.

  • Shane

    Wow is right for the ratings. I had a feeling the numbers for the return would be high but that is insane numbers for a cable show when you think about it.

    As a fan of both the comics and the show, the episode was just above average. I see a lot of complaining with some of the posts here but over all still a good episode.

    It’s just a cash cow for AMC and there going to use it to there advantage.

  • Trip

    I don’t think anyone should be surprised by the ratings bump.

    TWD switched their encore episode from 10 pm to 11 pm. In the fall, you could choose to watch the new Walking Dead at 9 or 10 pm (depending on what other shows you were watching that night). Now you either have to watch the episode at 9 pm, or stay up for the 11 pm showing.

    If you look at the fall premiere, the new episode scored a 5.8, while the encore scored a 1.9 (this was about the ratio all fall). This past week, the new episode scored a 6.1, while the 11 pm encore only scored a 1.4. It’s a similar amount of people watching the show, but now I think more people are watching the first showing. Very smart move.

  • Nick

    Wow, I still don’t get what people like in this show but obviously, for some reason, they just do… I personally tried watching it about 3 times and got to 1×05 at most. I’ll try again just because it’s so huge.

  • USAmerica1st

    Agree with @Holly, Just wonderful ratings that were affected by the Grammy competition.

  • PurpleDrazi

    @CookyMonzta – Nice Highlander reference! And yes, they have figured it out. Did you not notice the woman with the sword? ;-)

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