News Briefs: The Walking Dead Breaks Its Own Record

AMERICA LOVES ZOMBIES NEWS

... The Walking Dead returned from break on Sunday and promptly broke its own records for basic cable. More than 8.1 million people watched the mid-season return (plus 2 million more watched the encore), and 5.4 million of those were in the coveted 18-49 age range. According to AMC, that's the biggest audience in that demographic for a basic cable drama in history! That proves that America just LOVES zombies! Or maybe it proves that they like people talking about zombies? [AMC, via press release]


APPLE A DAY NEWS

... Fox has announced the end date for House. The doctor will check out for good on May 21. If you find yourself craving put-downs from doctors after that, go to your local hospital and start kicking people in the crotch. [E! Online]


NEW SHOW NEWS

... In-demand actress Becki Newton (Ugly Betty) might finally have a new home on television. Newton is set to star in The Goodwin Games, which Fox just ordered to pilot. The comedy comes from the minds behind How I Met Your Mother and follows a trio of adult children who will be left their father's inheritance only if they agree to his wacky terms. The talented Newton was wasted on NBC's Love Bites, which was mired in development hell before being forgotten on NBC. [EW]


CASTING ROUNDUP

... James Wolk, who was just seen as Max's boyfriend on Happy Endings and has been on everyone's hot list since starring in the short-lived Lone Star, will star in USA Network's Political Animals. The choice gives Wolk a bit of freedom and security as Political Animals is only plotted as a six-episode miniseries at the moment. However, if it's a success, USA could decide to give it a series run. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) is teaming up with FNL creator Jason Katims again in County. The NBC pilot follows a group of doctors and other hospital workers in Los Angeles. Already cast on the show is Jason Ritter. [TV Line]

... Spartacus: Vengance actor Peter Mensah has been cast as Kibwe, Chancellor for the Authority in HBO's True Blood. Whatever happened to simple True Blood castings for vampires, beefcake werewolves, and slutty fairies who shoot fireballs? Chancellor? Now this show is getting entirely ridiculous. With this news, the chances of Mensah's character Doctore surviving the current season of Spartacus just plummeted. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Ohhhhhhhhhhh! This one makes me happy, and for once I'm not being sarcastic. Henry Ian Cusick, better known as Desmond Hume from Lost, will appear in an upcoming episode of Fringe. He'll play an FBI agent in the 19th episode. Cusick can also be seen in ABC's Scandal, which debuts in April. [TV Line]

... Roseanne Barr's upcoming NBC pilot Downwardly Mobile, just upped its cred with its latest casting move: John Goodman! In the pilot, Barr stars as the owner of a trailer park. Goodman will play a man who lives there. The two spent several years together on-screen as a married couple on Roseanne. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Hmmm... looks like Carrie Matheson's search for Abu Nazir might take more than a few more episodes. Homeland has promoted Navid Negahban, who plays the super terrorist, to regular on the Showtime series. But the good guys got a promotion, too. David Marciano, who plays Carrie's buddy Virgil, has also been named regular. [TV Line]

... Movie star Ryan Phillippe has appropriately joined the CBS pilot Golden Boy (working title). He'll play a young cop who climbs the ranks of the police department, eventually ending up as police commissioner. Previously cast on the series, which comes from Greg Berlanti, was Chi McBride, which should make for a very interesting duo. [THR]


OOOH, BUSTED! NEWS

... Did you hear about Oprah Winfrey? The Queen of all Media hopped on Twitter just as the Grammys were getting under way on Sunday and tweeted: "Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if you have a Neilsen (sic) box." First of all, even I spellcheck my tweets and Oprah has eight million, nine hundred ninety-nine more followers than I do, so there's no excuse for the typo and third-grade shortcuts. Second, pandering to Nielsen families is a big no-no, Oprah. She later apologized for the tweet, and may face discipline from Nielsen despite the fact she can crush them like a bug. [LA Times]


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (31)
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Sooooo, Roseanne has 1 note? Yeah, I can't say I'm surprised.



Oprah's network, does anybody care? I haven't met but 1 person out there who cares or even knows if they have it.
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The Walking Dead's Return may have not had much of a bang, until the end, but it sets up future episodes nicely!



I can't wait to see Peter Mensah on True Blood, though I will miss him from Spartacus if he doesn't last there.
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Desmond on Fringe?!?!?!?!?



FANTASTIC!
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Maybe with numbers like these AMC will give TWD some of its budget back next season. As much as people complain about this season, people tune in because they really want the show to be awesome, and if AMC and the writers jump on board they can have a powerhouse on their hands.
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Jason Ritter? So he won't be on Parenthood anymore?

What's with Nielsen boxes, who has them? I don't know a single person that has one, maybe that's why really cool shows like Community are on hiatus and old people shows are thriving!!!
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No surprise about the Walking Dead. Shame it didn't quite live up to the hype in the return, but methinks that will change quite soon... for the better. TV in this day and age is an amazing thing; there's of course the continuing shift from the big screen to the TV screen instead of working up to Hollywood from TV, but also the fact that a zombie-genre show can break records like that is simply amazing. True, it stinks that shows take such long breaks, often between single new episodes, but it's worth it.
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OMG HENRY IAN CUSICK ON FRINGE. <3
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Sounds like Oprah may be nipping the same Hollywood Happy Juice that Charlie Sheen was on.
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Hoboy--Henry Ian Cusick on Fringe? Well, my brain matter is all up on my ceiling.
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Can Fringe be made any better? Oh, they are going to have Henry Ian Cusick as a guest? Mission accomplished.
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very surprised about Ryan Phillippe playing a YOUNG cop. he's cute and i just love him but he is not young by any accounts!
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really boring episode ! TWD is getting really boring.. nothing happens ! season 1 was awsome and the first episode of season 2, but after that... ZzzZZzz
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come on, the return episode wasn't that bad. i bet it will pick up very soon
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they were just on that fucking farm and arguing.. to went from action-drama. to much drama foir that matter, not a good fit for the show..
sry bout the late reply xD haven't fallowed the show now for some time now, gonna check it out again and see if they changed it..
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Silly Oprah... doesn't she know that most Nielsen boxes are permanently set to CBS?
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Desmond bruthaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!
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Awfully disappointed episode for 8.1M to return to. I bet that number drops next week.
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Just because they're on competing networks I don't see why Peter Mensah's character would have to die on Spartacus. After all, both shows have only 12 episodes per season.and since one is playing now and the other doesn't start for several months it seems like there's plenty of time for him to be in both.
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Wow, I don't even watch this show, but going up against the Grammys and pulling those kind of numbers (especially for a cable show) is phenomenal. Do you guys think I should check this show out?
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Yeah, you should check it out. The first season was pretty damn good. The second season is generally okay, but it's quite lackluster compared to the first season.
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I knew The Walking Dead's ratings wouldn't drop, but I didn't know they would skyrocket, especially considering the Grammy competition. Henry Ian Cusick will be an excellent addition to Fringe, even though an FBI agent doesn't sound too special but maybe it will be more. Loved Mr. Surette's sarcasm about True Blood, but obviously Peter Mensah is playing a vampire, which I can get behind since the show needs more vampires. Sucks that it probably means death to his character on Spartacus.
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How long can TWD maintain high ratings with such a lackluster season? I bet most people are continuing to watch in the hopes that they leave the damn farm soon and the show becomes good again.
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I bet more happens with this season.
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And Lori dies. *crosses fingers*
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Just about all the women in the show are horribly written. I was hoping Daryl would stab Lori in the neck with one of the arrows he was making but no such luck.
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Interesting news about Becki Newton, since she was on tonight's HIMYM episode with possibly more to come.
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My guess is that she is who we are supposed to see barney ABOUT to marry, but then he chooses Robin.
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Maybe she is only obligated through the end of this season.
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I wondered about that too. What happened to Barney's British girlfriend? I thought they were getting back together after the first break up.
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They re-broke up after Barney and Robin slept together again.
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