12:41pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
TV RATINGS: 'Hell on Wheels' Premieres Huge for AMC
Westerns have continued to pay off for AMC.
Sunday's premiere of its post-Civil War Western Hell on Wheels opened to a 3.1 household rating and 4.4 million viewers, becoming the network's second-highest series premiere in history, following The Walking Dead.
Among key demographics, the Anson Mount starrer created by brothers Joe and Tony Gayton delivered 2.4 million viewers in adults 18-49, second to the Season 2 premiere of the network's Robert Kirkman zombie drama. Among adults 25.54, Sunday's Hell on Wheels premiere delivered 2.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
“I congratulate the entire cast and crew of Hell on Wheels for pulling off a project of this scope," AMC president Charlie Collier said in a statement Monday.
"Bringing the grandeur of the Old West and the building of the railroad to life is no small feat and the Gaytons, with their team, have delivered a beautiful world of which we are all so proud," he added. "We look forward to sharing the lives of these characters in the weeks and months to come.”
AMC's 2006 Western miniseries Broken Trail -- the network's first original scripted effort -- stands as its biggest commercial success and highest rated original project, collecting 9.8 million total viewers.
Meanwhile, the fourth episode of The Walking Dead rebounded from its third episode dip and provided a stellar lead-in to Hell on Wheels, drawing 6.3 million total viewers at 9 p.m. and a 4.2 household rating. In the demos, Dead drew 4.3 million viewers in 18-49 and 3.7 million among adults 25-54.