The fourth-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” Sunday night drew an incredible 16.1 million viewers, AMC said Monday.
It is an astonishing number — one of the highest audience tallies ever for a TV show on basic cable, and quite possibly the highest-rated basic-cable show ever, though AMC refrained from declaring it as such in the press release it issued on Monday afternoon.
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Few shows on TV today — broadcast or cable — see that kind of an audience these days. (Notable exceptions include shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” — both on CBS and both drawing audiences well north of 16 million so far this season.)
The “Walking Dead” tally is especially impressive when you consider the competition at 9 p.m. (8c) on Sunday night — including NFL football on NBC, “The Good Wife” on CBS, “Homeland” on Showtime and “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO.
“The Walking Dead” also notched one of the year’s highest tallies among the viewers advertisers crave — adults 18-49: An eye-popping (and almost unheard-of) 10.4 million viewers in the demo the sponsors pay to reach.
The numbers were certainly series highs for “The Walking Dead,” surpassing previous highs by a substantial number. The previous record-holder for this series was the Season Three finale: 12.4 million total viewers, 8.1 million in the target demo.