October 17, 2011 12:06pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Walking Dead' Season 2 Premiere Shatters Basic Cable Ratings Records
Sunday's Season 2 premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead shattered basic cable ratings records.
The 90-minute episode drew 7.3 million total viewers, becoming the strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history among two key demos.
The zombie drama based on Robert Kirkman's long-running comics drew 4.8 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, 4.2 million adults 25-54 and registered a 4.8 household rating, shattering a nearly 10-year-old basic cable record among the demos for a single drama telecast.
The 4.8 household rating and 7.3 million total viewers represent a 36 percent and 38 percent increase, respectively, over the drama's freshman season ratings.
"The Walking Dead is one of those rare television programs that reaches both a core genre fan as well as broad audiences simply looking for a great, character-based story," AMC president Charlie Collier said Monday. "We're so proud of and greatful for the amazing team on both sides of the camera who work so hard and is so committed to making this a unique programming event."
"That The Walking Dead is now the most-watched drama in the history of basic cable is staggering, just like our zombies," he added.
The series' Halloween night 2010 premiere drew 5.3 million viewers and a 2.7 rating in 18-49, the largest demo audience for any series premiere on cable last year.
Walking Dead's first season averaged 3.5 million adults 18-49, making it the most-watched drama series in basic cable history for the demo. The first season of the series, adapted by former showrunner Frank Darabont, averaged 5.2 million total viewers.
Combined with encore airings at 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., the premiere of the Andrew Lincoln starrer drew 11 million viewers.