‘Walking Dead’ Ratings Will Feed Media’s Appetite

Are you sick of reading about “The Walking Dead” yet? Because if you already are, this promises to be a very long fall.

The jaw-dropping ratings for the season three premiere of the AMC series have a lot of interesting implications, even with the Dish-AMC dispute settled. And although those numbers cooled a bit in the second week, the program is still attracting the kind of mass audience seldom associated with basic cable — while scoring a demographic bull’s-eye with a young-adult, unusually-male audience to boot.

ReeduswdIn the near term, that slavering horde of viewers should have a very profound effect on the world of entertainment journalism, so much so that you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid the show in the coming weeks.

Every outlet that cares a whit about web traffic (and these days, that’s all of them) or newsstand sales will want a piece of the “Dead.” Moreover, because it’s a genre show perceptions about the audience’s passion and willingness to seek the program out in ancillary areas is multiplied — in the same way “True Blood” has received a disproportionate amount of pop-culture attention relative to its creative merit.

Simply put, you’re apt to see a lot more zombies and vampires wandering around Comic-Con as opposed to, say, people dressed up in “Boardwalk Empire” or “Homeland” garb. And that will translate into love from editors and aggregators.

Even in these first couple of weeks, this has begun to produce a minor backlash, or at least some grousing from those who feel the excitement surrounding the ratings is being somewhat overblown.

Sorry, but get used to it. And if the entertainment world appears to be overrun by a new breed of “Dead”-heads, try to avoid letting the invasion make you green with nausea — or more likely, envy.


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