‘Walking Dead’ Wraps First Half of Season With 12.1 Million Viewers

AMC drama's fall finale up 15% from last year; 'Talking Dead' draws series best 6 million

After a bit of a “slump,” AMC juggernaut “The Walking Dead” — fall’s biggest primetime series among young adults — went out strong with its midseason finale on Sunday.

According to Nielsen estimates, “Dead” averaged a 6.1 rating in adults 18-49 while drawing 12.1 million viewers overall — up vs. the previous week’s season lows by 8% in the demo (from 5.65) and 7% in total viewers (from 11.29 million).

The 12.1 million is 15% above the 10.48 million who watched the comparable episode a year ago, and it’s nearly double the 6.62 million that watched the fall finale in 2011.

“Dead,” which set cable records earlier this fall when it kicked off its fourth season, had dipped some in recent weeks — thanks in part to facing huge NFL competition in much of the country. Two of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” games in November (Kansas City-Denver and Denver-New England) topped 26 million viewers, the two largest auds for November primetime games in 17 years.

Overall, the fall episodes of “Walking Dead” averaged 13 million viewers and 8.4 million adults 18-49 (6.6 rating), up about 30% from last year. And for the five episodes for which Live+7 data was available, it averaged a monster 9.8 rating in 18-49 and 18.7 million total viewers.

The Walking Dead continues to be the No. 1 primetime show on all of television among adults 18-49 and remains the highest-rated series in the history of cable television.

Following “Walking Dead,” the post-show “Talking Dead,” hosted by Chris Hardwick, hit a series-high 6 million. Its eight fall episodes averaged 4.5 million viewers, including 3.8 million adults 18-49 (3.0 rating) — up about 120% from last year.

“Walking Dead” is set to resume its fourth season on Feb. 9.

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