It's TV's top entertainment series among young adults

Zombies represent the zenith when it comes to the most popular programs in young adults this fall.

In a season that has seen no new broadcast network series take off in the ratings, AMC’s third-year thriller “The Walking Dead” has exploded. With Sunday’s huge tune-in counted, “Dead” wrapped the fall as TV’s highest-rated entertainment series in adults 18-49 — beating the likes of broadcast biggies like “Modern Family,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Voice.”

Sunday’s fall finale of “The Walking Dead” drew 6.9 million adults 18-49 (a 5.5 national rating in the demo) and 10.5 million viewers overall. Scores in both categories are the show’s second best among its 28 episodes to date, behind only its third-season premiere on Oct. 14 (7.4 million adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall).

Show was up more than 50% vs. its fall finale of last year and only this fall’s premiere has rated higher among its 28 episodes.

Add in the 4.7 million who tuned in for repeats at 10 p.m. and midnight, and “Dead” drew roughly 15.2 million viewers Sunday. It stands as basic cable’s top-rated ad-supported drama ever in total viewers and most key demos.

For the season, same-night premiere telecasts of “The Walking Dead” averaged a 5.32 national rating in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen, better than all broadcast entertainment series. CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” has averaged a 5.08 rating, ABC’s “Modern Family” a 4.93 and NBC’s Monday installment of “The Voice” a 4.45.

Like all big scripted series, “Dead” is also a big DVR gainer this fall, adding about 3.4 million viewers in playback in the week after its initial telecast.

AMC announced on air Sunday that “The Walking Dead” will kick off the eight-episode second half of its season on Feb. 10. It also said that its popular post-show series “The Talking Dead” is expanding to an hour and moving to 10 p.m., airing immediately after the drama’s conclusion instead of waiting for 11 p.m.

On Sunday, “Talking Dead” drew 1.5 million adults 18-49 and 2.2 million viewers overall — more than double its averages for the telecast following the fall finale of a year ago.

(AJ Marechal contributed to this report.)

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