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The Walking Dead premiered its fourth season on Sunday night. Sunday is a huge night for TV across network television and cable, but The Walking Dead did well against shows like The Amazing Race, Once Upon A Time and Boardwalk Empire, scoring a whopping 16.1 million total viewers last night. In the 18-49 demographic, the show has continued to be the #1 scripted telecast on television, outperforming every show but NFL football with 10.4 adults aged 18-49 tuning in.
Anyone who has been following The Walking Dead since the AMC drama hit the schedule has noticed a steady increase in viewers since day 1. Last spring’s Season 3 closer brought in a ratings record of 12.4 million total viewers, which was a huge jump from the 5.35 million that tuned in for the opening season of the drama back in 2010. However, last night’s numbers blew the show’s incredible Season 3 closer numbers out of the water. 16.1 million total viewers ranks higher than most of the top-rated programs on television, including the ratings darling The Voice, which brought in 14.7 million total viewers during its recent season premiere. Those numbers also exceed the recent high of 10.3 million viewers AMC was able to pull in for the series finale of Breaking Bad.
The Walking Dead always had a bit of a built-in audience to help grow the series, thanks to fans who have devoured Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels. However, the show has been able to grow due to being a fairly accessible cable drama that can be accessed via a variety of formats, including streaming, cable, and even Netflix. DVR hasn’t even seemed to harm The Walking Dead’s ratings. According to a press release from the network, the Season 4 opener is expected to do over 20 million after Live+ numbers are factored in. That will be a nice little bump-up in the numbers, but it also shows that a huge chunk of fans of the show are willing to make The Walking Dead a household priority on Sunday nights. Programming will frequently lose some viewership after a premiere episode, but even if The Walking Dead does lose some of its audience over the next couple of weeks, it looks as if the series will still continue to do strong numbers compared to Season 3.
In other news, The Walking Dead’s companion series, Talking Dead, also did well on Sunday night. Last night’s premiere of Talking Dead brought in 5.1 million total viewers and over 3.3 million in the 18-49 advertising demographic. The aftershow for the series is hosted by Chris Hardwick and features random guests and people related to the show talking about the most recent episode. Last night, Nathan Fillion, of Castle and Firefly fame, guest starred.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET. Check out our recap of the premiere before next week’s episode!