The Walking Dead is AMC's hit that just keeps on hitting. Viewership for the zombie drama series has risen steadily since its 2010 debut. Last night marked the halfway point for Season 3 of the series, and the ratings show strong numbers for the mid-season finale, which fell just shy of the third season premiere's numbers.

According to Variety, The Walking Dead earned 10.5 million viewers for its fall finale airing at 9:00 p.m. last night. 6.9 million of those fell into the 18-49 demo. When factoring in the later airings for the show, The Walking Dead brought in about 15.2 million viewers last night. Those are impressive numbers for any scripted series these days, cable or otherwise. For reference, Modern Family's Season 4 premiere earned 14.44 million viewers (it's highest rated episode of the season so far).

It's not often that cable shows drift into eight-figure territory when it comes to viewers in this day and age, but The Walking Dead has done it numerous times over the course of its third season, with Episode 1 of Season 3 ("Seed") earning 10.87 million viewers and three other episodes breaking the 10 million viewer mark since then, not counting last night's mid-season finale. Needless to say, The Walking Dead is hugely popular, and its popularity among viewers has grown dramatically since the series' premiere, which aired to an audience of 5.35 million (and dipped to 4.71 million the following week!). Word of mouth is likely to play a factor in the show's growing popularity, not to mention AMC making the series available through encore airings, marathons, DVD, Netflix and other on demand services.

The Walking Dead is on hiatus for the next couple of months and will return with its next new episode ("The Suicide King") on February 10, 2013. Check out the preview for the next new episode here.

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