It’s the biggest show in TV network AMC’s history, and the biggest viewing figures for any cable premiere in the States this year
Cable network AMC’s The Walking Dead premiered to the kind of viewing figures some shows on the major US networks this year would loved to be seeing.
The 90-minute episode that aired on Halloween night pulled in 5.3 million viewers. That’s the biggest debut audience for any new cable show this year, and also the highest numbers for any series in AMC's history. It was also the most watched non-sports show on Sunday night.
For comparison, True Blood ’s third season (which aired on another cable channel, HBO) averaged 4.97 million per episode with a peak of 5.44 million.
We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see whether The Walking Dead is a bona fide “must watch” show, but with a premiere episode as good as that one, it would be hard to believe there’d be a ratings crash, unless American viewers have no taste at all.And we can tell you, the next couple of episodes maintain the standard.
“It’s a good day to be dead,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “We are so proud of this series, its depth of storytelling and the remarkable talent attached. As the network dedicated to bringing viewers the best stories on television, we are so pleased to have the opportunity with The Walking Dead to raise the bar within this popular genre and continue our commitment to being the home of premium television on basic cable.”
“ The Walking Dead is that rare piece of programming that works on so many levels,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s SVP of original programming, production and digital content (how does he fit all that on his business card?). “It is legitimately great storytelling that is not only highly entertaining, but incredibly thought provoking as well. People who are familiar with the comic books know what’s coming, but suffice it to say, this is only the beginning of a long, intense, and powerful ride. Long live The Walking Dead.”
Expect an official announcement about season two soon (though unofficially, we hear it’s pretty much a done deal already).