AMC’s Sunday night mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” became the strongest telecast for any drama in basic cable history against such key demos as 5.4 million adults 18-49 and 4.4 million adults 25-54. Those ratings top the previous record, also held by “Walking Dead” with its October 16th 2011 season two premiere, with increases of +12% and +6% respectively, said the network in a press release.
Sunday’s broadcast delivered 8.1 million viewers for its 9 p.m. premiere and delivered 10.1 million viewers for the night (9pm premiere and 11pm and 12:30 am encores). At 10 p.m., AMC also premiered its newest unscripted series, “Comic Book Men,” which delivered 2 million total viewers. “Comic Book Men” is a limited series (six episodes), created to follow “Dead” in the 10 p.m. slot. It is set in “master fanboy” Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic shop. The unscripted series essentially televises gushing over and sharing trivia about pop-culture artifacts.
“Walking Dead” has a comic book legacy. It is based on an award-winning comic series which premiered in 2003. The series received the 2010 Eisner Award (“The Pulitzer of comic books”) for Best Continuing Series at the July Comic-Con International. The AMC adaptation premiered just three months later, on Halloween.
AMC likely banked that the series’ following included comic book readers (who gleefully call themselves “geeks”), but a drop of 9.8 million for the 9-10pm “Dead” broadcast to 2 million in the 10 p.m. slot for “Comic Book Men” suggests that “Dead” has a broader appeal.