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'Walking Dead' a Monster Smash

AMC's The Walking Dead premiere ratings are enormous: The 90-minute Halloween night debut delivered 5.3 million viewers and a 2.7 adults 18-49 rating.*

That's the largest demo audience for any series premiere on any cable network this year.

It's also the highest numbers for any series in AMC's history, and beat most non-sports programs on broadcast Sunday night.

The critically acclaimed zombie drama was by no means a sure-fire ratings victory. Industry insiders wondered whether female viewers would be drawn to the gory and apocalyptic subject matter. But mounting buzz on the show ever since its trailed debuted at Comic-Con made Walking Dead a must-see among genre fans.

“It’s a good day to be dead. We are so proud of this series, its depth of storytelling and the remarkable talent attached,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “As the network dedicated to bringing viewers the best stories on television, we are so pleased to have the opportunity with The Walking Dead to raise the bar within this popular genre and continue our commitment to being the home of premium television on basic cable.”

The Walking Dead is that rare piece of programming that works on so many levels. It is legitimately great storytelling that is not only highly entertaining, but incredibly thought provoking as well. People who are familiar with the comic books know what's coming, but suffice it to say, this is only the beginning of a long, intense, and powerful ride. Long live The Walking Dead,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s SVP of original programming, production and digital content.

An aside: I've seen through episode three and if you liked the premiere you're going to love the next two hours.

Unless Walking Dead suffers an enormous ratings drop off in the coming weeks, a second season order is very likely. These numbers are well above the bar set by Mad Men and Breaking Bad

* AMC originally reported a 3.2, which could be accurate by one seldom reported internal measurement, but Tuesday's nationals say 2.7.