The Walking Dead Cannot Be Stopped: 16.1 Million People Tuned In for the Premiere

By Tim Surette

Oct 14, 2013

If you're alive, heck even if you're dead, there's a good chance that you watched the Season 4 premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead. We all knew Season 4 would debut huge, but the numbers released today are still impressive: 16.1 million viewers watched the zombie drama *BOING eyeballs pop out of sockets*, crushing the series' previous personal best and reasserting itself as television's biggest scripted series, cable or otherwise. Also, it seems that the further you are from dying, the more likely it is that you watched: The 18-49-year-old audience for the premiere was 10.4 million viewers, an absolutely ridiculous number. 

The Walking Dead's previous best belongs to the Season 3 finale, which drew 12.4 million viewers and 8.1 million 18-49ers. Considered a super smash back then, last night's stats make us wonder just how far this cable show can go. We're no longer comparing The Walking Dead to scripted shows from major networks, we're now comparing it to primetime NFL games; early numbers for NBC's Sunday-night airing of the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins game have it at around 19.65 million total viewers, and in its press release, AMC says The Walking Dead outperformed football in the important 18-49 demo. Wow. Plus, the network expects DVR and on-demand viewing to push the premiere to more than 20 million total viewers. 

The Walking Dead picked a great time to draw its biggest audience, too. "30 Days Without an Accident" was a revitalized effort from the unsteady show, thanks in large part to new showrunner Scott Gimple. I don't know about you, but I thought it was awesome and I really hope it continues to improve. And please kill all those new bratty little girls!


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  • ionee24 Oct 16, 2013

    You know what I just figured out? The "so happy I'm crying" zombie from the picture above died from the same illness that killed Patrick.

    The carrier might be someone working on the fence rather than the food or farm animals.

  • tryptz Oct 15, 2013

    Wow am offically impressed The ratings have coem a lonnng way from Season 1.

  • jtjr26 Oct 15, 2013

    Cable television is where the best shows are now a days due to the antiquated standards that hinder and restrict network television. Is Walking Dead was on a network it most likely would be the highest rated show, but then so would Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and so many others

  • Ralike Oct 15, 2013

    This is why i say dont get rid of a tv show that has 1 million shows or less because it will progress

  • FilmFanatic Oct 15, 2013

    The walking dead is so good that every time they don't have new episodes airing it seems that more and more new viewers realize that it's a fucking great show and bench watch it. The strength of word of mouth!

  • GirishKrishna1 Oct 15, 2013

    Ageist networks. NCIS gets over 20 million viewers every week like its no big deal.

  • LeePierce Oct 15, 2013

    NCIS is also on a Broadcast network, not cable.

  • itsmemadie01 Oct 15, 2013

    Not surprised. I'd say this is probably one of the best episodes ever.

  • ionee24 Oct 15, 2013

    30 days without an incident, after the last 3 seasons that was worth watching even if we didn't make it to 31.

  • ElisaDiaz Oct 15, 2013

    still, people didn't know about it before planning to sit for the premiere, right?

  • RenaMoretti Oct 15, 2013

    @safibwana: You are entirely right. I'll add that the "rationale" for hyping 18-49 was just the need to hype FOX's ratings when it started and the game continued when NBC started losing its audience but wanted to still pretend it was doing great.

    There has never been a real rationale for a car company, for instance, to overpay for people who can't afford their product (car buyers' median age is 51).

  • safibwana Oct 15, 2013

    i can't claim credit, I just googled like prometheus said, and posted the quote and link.

  • RenaMoretti Oct 15, 2013

    It is so sad that AC still hypes ageist spin numbers now that they have a real hit.

    Advertisers pay for pairs of eyes, not demo numbers. I realize they don't want to come out and say they were full of it before, but at least they could just bask in their real honest-to-goodness hit without trying to still spin something that does need to be.

  • WillYouKindly Oct 15, 2013

    Advertisers pay for the right pairs of eyes for their products. If you're selling retirement plans, you might want to do it during other shows than TWD. Age groups are important.

  • SebastienShe Oct 15, 2013

    the premiere of the season 4 of the walking dead had better ratings than the finale of Breaking Bad ? crazy world ...

  • Nickylucas Oct 15, 2013

    Breaking Bad's finale was still huge.

  • WithoutPopcorn Oct 15, 2013

    Indeed. Remember the walking dead has a comic fan base and a zombie fan base that breaking bad never had. Higher ratings isn't about quality of show just number of viewers.

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