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TV’s highest-rated series is still cheating gravity. After four seasons of setting new ratings records every few episodes, The Walking Dead rose yet again on Sunday night — fetching an average 17.3 million viewers and 11 million adults 18-49.
AMC’s zombie drama eclipsed its previous viewership high, set one year ago, by more than 1 million viewers during the season five premiere. And in the key demo, the show was up 600,000 from its previous record.
Its great news for the cable network. Thin as it may be on original series these days, it boasts the biggest show on TV. And these initial live-plus-same day stats only tell a very small part of the story. Last season saw the series reach an average audience of 28 million weekly viewers once encores, DVR and additional platforms were taken into account.
Though the new records may be icing on the cake, The Walking Dead‘s premiere ratings come as little surprise. The series has never been for want of momentum — one reason why AMC gave it an early season six renewal last week.
Good fortune also extended to companion series Talking Dead. The after show, one of two unscripted series AMC is keeping around in its departure from reality programming, brought in 6.9 million viewers and 4.5 million adults under 50.
The Walking Dead ratings timeline:
Season 4 finale, Mar. 30, 2014: 15.7 million viewers, 10.2 million adults 18-49
Season 4 midseason premiere, Feb. 9, 2014: 15.8 million viewers, 10.4 million adults 18-49
- Season 4 midseason finale, Dec. 1, 2013: 12.1 million viewers, 7.7 million adults 18-49
- Season 4 premiere, Oct. 13, 2013: 16.1 million total viewers*, 10.4 million adults 18-49
- Season 3 finale, March 31, 2013: 12.4 million total viewers*, 8.1 million 18-49*
- Season 3 midseason premiere, Feb. 10, 2013: 12.3 million total viewers*, 6.8 million 18-49
- Season 3 midseason finale, Dec. 2, 2012: 10.5 million total viewers, 6.9 million 18-49
- Season 3 premiere, Oct. 14, 2012: 10.9 million total viewers, 7.3 million 18-49
- Season 2 finale, March 18, 2012: 9 million total viewers, 6 million 18-49
- Season 2 midseason premiere, Feb. 12, 2012: 8.1 million total viewers, 5.4 million* 18-49
- Season 2 premiere, Oct. 16, 2011: 7.3 million total viewers, 4.8 million* 18-49
- Season 2 midseason finale, Nov. 27, 2011: 6.6 million total viewers, 4.5 million 18-49
- Season 1 finale, Dec. 5 2010: 6 million total viewers, 4 million 18-49
- Season 1 premiere, Oct. 31, 2010: 5.4 million total viewers, 2.7 million 18-49
* Record at the time
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