AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ Returns to Record 17.3 Million Viewers

The Walking Dead Season 5 Ratings

There’s just no killing the zombies of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” as the mega-hit returned Sunday to open its fifth season with more record-setting ratings.

Nielsen estimates that an average audience of 17.3 million watched Sunday’s premiere, besting the show’s previous high — 16.11 million for its fourth-season premiere a year ago — by more than 1 million.

It also crushed the show’s record in adults 18-49, with Sunday’s 8.7 rating (roughly 11 million viewers in this age range) easily topping the 8.2 it had earned with both its premiere and mid-season return last season. “Walking Dead” easily bested NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles (roughly 6.7), which was a lopsided affair.

This is easily the top “live plus same-day” demo rating for an entertainment telecast this season — well above the 5.5 earned by the season premiere of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.” And among all primetime programs, it ties at No. 1 with the Sept. 28 “Sunday Night Football” game on NBC between the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys.

“Walking Dead” has become a monster in total viewers, as well. Among entertainment series, Sunday’s premiere total is competitive with a trio of CBS shows from premiere week (“The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS,” which both topped 18 million) and newcomer “NCIS: New Orleans,” which bagged 17.2 million in “live plus same-day” results.

Three years ago, “Walking Dead” kicked off its second season with a 3.8 demo rating and 7.26 million viewers overall, only to spike with each of its next two premieres: a 5.8 in the demo and 10.87 million in 2012 and then to an 8.2 and 16.11 million a year ago.

AMC projects that with a full week’s of time-shifted viewing included, “Walking Dead” could hit 22 million viewers.

Following the season premiere of “The Walking Dead,” AMC scored with the return of post-show “Talking Dead,” which drew a 3.5 rating in 18-49 and 6.9 million viewers overall.

 

 

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  1. I always get only one word and I watched the whole time

  2. “Time-shifted” is Nielsen-speak for DVR watching. BTDT.

  3. Robert V says:

    The season premiere, was one of the best episodes. It had gore and violence that kept you riveted to the screen. The hour seemed to go by so fast. They did right by characters and set a good pace that compels you to tune in for the next episode. clear schedule on sunday nights for TWD.

  4. Bella says:

    I was bawling my head off by the last 10 min of this show. It went from blood, gore and violence to absolute heart breaking, I love this show since the beginning. Here’s an idea, the next seasons premiere show should be a 2 hour movie in IMAX. People would flock to the theatre in droves to see their favorite characters up their on the giant screen. Thanks studios and I’ll take 10% for this idea. 😊

  5. angel says:

    love the walking dead it is about the only show I wait on sunday to watch, I even have some of the comic books and poster and will buy more and I have the video game

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