THE WALKING DEAD Breaks AMC Ratings Records

The numbers are in from last night's premiere episode of The Walking Dead on AMC. And they're better than anyone expected.

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting
that the premiere drew 5.3 million total viewers and 3.6 million viewers in the 18-49 demo, the only demo that the advertisers, and thus the networks, really care about. Not only is that the biggest 18-49 audience for any series premiere on any cable network this year but it's also the biggest numbers for any series in AMC's history.

UPDATE – When you add in the viewers from the replays at 11:30pm and 1am, the total viewership rises to 8.1 million.

By contrast, here are the total viewerships of the first episodes of some other AMC series:

Mad Men – 900,000
Breaking Bad – 1,343,000
Rubicon – 1,700,000

Talk about the show itself here. Talk about the ratings below.


  1. I was just looking for this information! Safe to say we’ll see a season 2 then.

  2. Nice! People flocked to this like a herd to a gunshot. I love it!

  3. It would be hard to imagine, even if ratings fall off considerably in Week 2, that this isn’t a high enough mark to justify a full 2nd season. WOOOOOT!


  4. WIN!!!

  5. @Wood – Didn’t they already approve a second season?

    I second @Wood’s WOOOOT! 

  6. It was already picked up for a second season before the first episode ever aired.. 

  7. @Tiocore, Not necessarily; premieres, particularly ones with as much buzz & hype as The Walking Dead, tend to draw inflated ratings as people check-in to see what all the talk is about. There will be some drop off next week, but if it manages to hold on to a high percentage of viewers from the first episode for the next two or three episodes, then I think we’ll hear news of an early renewal from AMC.

  8. I had no idea a 2nd season was already guaranteed. Either way, this is FANTASTIC news.


  9. It was already rumored to have been picked up. But AMC was denying it. Mainly because they wanted to focus on this season. I’m expecting you’ll hear an official announcement regarding the 13 episode 2nd season any minute now.

  10. I told all my friends and many of them that I cant convince to read a comic. and everyone who watched it loved it


  11. I think they should forget the second season… What really needs to happen here is a Zombie Channel. Zombie news, zombie weather, zombie monday night football, etc…

  12. Is seaon one still planned for 6 episodes?

  13. @Davetron3k: Yes.

  14. Wow, I knew it’d be big, but not that big. Impressive. Also? The show deserves it, quite frankly, it was amazing. Not even considering the writing, acting, casting, the technical aspects are all amazing (which are the only things I can really discuss with some degree of competency). Kudos to Kirkman et al.

  15. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Calculator, er Conor: What numbers did Mad Men’s other season premieres get?

  16. @Wood – Apparently Darabont said season 2 was a go, but AMC hasn’t officially approved it.

  17. @Paul:

    Season 2 – 2,000,000
    Season 3 – 2,800,000
    Season 4 – 2,920,000

  18. Beating the series premieres for Mad Men and Breaking Bad isn’t that big a thing, as neither show had nearly close to the pub leading up to it. For the most part, both shows were discovered about a season in by most. But it is impressive that this episode of TWD outdrew any single previous ep of either Mad Men or Breaking Bad. That’s pretty cool. As a huge fan of both MM & BB, I’m stoked to see TWD get such a strong start on such a smart network.

  19. Another intersting/impressive fact. TWD premiere outdrew HBO’s premiere for Martin Scorsese exec produced Boardwalk Empire. Damn.

  20. It will be interesting to see week two to see how many were watching tv because it was Halloween.

  21. @j206 — the fact Walking Dead got 2x the viewers of Mad Men’s Season FOUR premiere though is VERY impressive.


  22. Its awesome that it beat Mad Men, but you can’t read much into that. Its been written about A LOT about how Mad Men would have been cancelled after season 1 if it were on any other network. 

    Still, this show was up against Sunday Night Football, the World Series and Halloween going out. Pretty impressive.

  23. Awesome, as was the episode.

  24. Nice. Can’t wait till the next episode.

  25. I bet Kirkman’s money pile will be looking even more impressive this morning.Completely well deserved of course.

  26. Very awesome.  I still haven’t watched the episode (had to leave the house and travel at 5AM today) but I am very excited to watch the episode.  My question is this: ratings don’t account for people like me, who DVR’d (not a real verb) the episode?

  27. @wallthegreenmonster but the fact it got 2x the ratings for Mad Men’s last season, which has had tremendous buzz, Emmy accolades, and the like is very impressive.


  28. Right now Kirkman is designing his own personal Money Bin and thinking, ‘Who’s right now Bendis?’

  29. I believe the number is actually 8.1 million and 1!  Although because I’m Canadian, I don’t matter. =(

  30. @wood–the point of all those articles that have been written about Mad Men is that not as many people watch it as the critical praise/awards would suggest. It has an incredibly small audience for a major TV show. Its a testament to AMC being about quality over ratings and trying to create a portfolio of very good original programming…which is good news for Walking Dead if the ratings ever decline.

  31. And they deserved those ratings, it was pretty fantastic.

  32. Are we going to get a picture of Kirkman in a tub swimming with the money?

    Seriously, congrats to Kirkman, Darabont, and everyone associated with the show. With such quality it deserves a huge numbers. 

  33. @HBD – 8.1 million when you factor in the 2nd and 3rd airings last night. And that doesn’t even factor in DVR’s! That’s pretty bad ass.

    One thing to those stoked about the big rating. There is going to be a decent drop off next week. There always is with any new show. Premieres always have a high curiosity factor. Also it being Halloween and all likely helped boost the numbers.

    As for Mad Men and Breaking Bad comparisons. They don’t really work as both are incredibly niche shows with relatively small audiences. Yes, they get tons of critical praise (as is well deserved). But neither have large audiences by any means. Both shows feature topics and genres that are less than appealing to the masses. Zombies have a much wider appeal than 1950’s/60’s social commentary & a dark story about meth & drug dealing.

  34. @wood – Didn’t Chris mention season 2 being approved on 11 o’clock last week?

  35. @BC1 – Probably. As did the rest of the internet. But AMC quickly responded saying that it wasn’t official yet. Where there’s smoke, they was likely fire. But AMC wanted to focus on these upcoming 6 eps and the premiere first. We’ll prob hear official word soon, seeing how big a hit the premiere was.

  36. Wow, great news.  Looks like I’ll be watching this for a long time.

  37. wonderful news!!! It was a great first episode I even got my Zombie hating girlfriend into it.

  38. I wish we could add the numbers from iTunes to this tally. It’s the number 1 show in the iTunes Store right now thanks to people like me who didn’t watch it live but bought it there.

    Actually, looking at the stats more closely, WALKING DEAD is the number 1 single episode in iTunes and it’s the number 1 season subscription on iTunes. Great golly!

  39. Awesome! Is it weird to actually feel proud of this show’s success? Like here’s an indie property that made it from obscurity to pop culture phenomenon & now it is translated to another media, I mean I feel like a father see his son graduate or get an awesome job or something, lol.

  40. I was getting the feeling it was going to be a big deal. All my non comicbook reading coworkers are into it. In fact some.of them want to read the book now.

  41. Hooray for quality shows! Who would have thunk it? AMC rocks! The guy(s) running it deserve a whole lot praise!

  42. Wow this is awesome news! I loved the premiere episode last night. Like @JeffR said, if you factor in iTunes, Amazon and other on-demand services this is really impressive.

  43. It was awesome, I was on the edge of my seat, and I am an avid reader of the comicbooks.

  44. Good to see it be popular.

  45. Great episode. Hopefully this means we will get to the stuff that will really upset people.

  46. I had to go away on business this week and can’t watch this until late next week 🙁

  47. That’s fantastic news. Couldn’t happen for a better pilot. Unbelievable adaptation.

  48. Great television makes for great ratings.

  49. Nice to see quality TV bring in viewers as opposed to your standard New Jersey celebutard show. Hopefully, these 8 million people saw something they liked and will continue to watch.

  50. "Great television makes for great ratings."


    Ummmmmm. Two & a Half Men and reality tv says otherwise. The Wire and Arrested Development also had something to say about that, but from the other perspective. Generally, great tv goes unnoticed. Garbage gets great ratings as there’s a lot more dumb people out there who enjoy simple, easy, familiar crap. Nice to see things different. At least for one time.

  51. With all this being said and TWD looking to be a success.  Does This Give Bendis hope for a final arrival of POWERS?

  52. The comparison with Rubicon are probably the most apt. Both Mad Men and Breaking Bad had their premiers before AMC became the "it" network.