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TV Ratings: ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Breaks Cable Record

Zombies continue their primetime domination as “Fear the Walking Dead,” the prequel to AMC’s “The Walking Dead” premiered on Sunday to a strong 10.1 million viewers — the largest audience ever for a cable series premiere.

The spinoff series even outdid the premiere ratings of the original; “The Walking Dead” opened to about 5.8 million in October 2010. The zombie thriller averaged more than 14 million same-night viewers in its most recent season. The previous high for a cable premiere was TNT’s “Raising the Bar,” which used a lead-in from “The Closer” to open to 7.7 million viewers in 2008.

CBS won the week thanks in large part to three editions of “Big Brother” and “Zoo,” the most-watched new series of the summer. The Eye averaged 5 million viewers per evening, edging out NBC’s 4.5 million average, ABC’s 3.3 million and Fox’s 2.8 million averages.

NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was again the week’s most-watched series overall with 10.9 million viewers for its two-hour Tuesday performance episode. Wednesday’s hourlong results show placed No. 3 for the week with 9.1 million.

The finale of ABC’s limited series “Astronaut Wives Club” touched down with 3.8 million viewers. Any chance the show might have had of returning fizzled with the show’s declining ratings down the stretch.

ABC’s Monday edition of “Bachelor in Paradise” grew for a third straight week, cracking the week’s top 20 with 5.2 million viewers.

“Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (2.1 million) remains the CW’s most popular series of summer, and is drawing the network’s largest audience in Monday’s opening hour since “One Tree Hill” in the fall of 2009.

For the week of Aug. 17-23, the top 10 programs, their networks and their viewerships: “America’s Got Talent – Tuesday,” NBC, 10.9 million; “Fear the Walking Dead,” AMC, 10.1 million; “America’s Got Talent – Wednesday,” NBC, 9.1 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 8.3 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.6 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 6.8 million; “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC, 6.8 million; “Big Brother – Wednesday,” CBS, 6.5 million; “Big Brother – Thursday,” CBS, 6.5 million; “Big Brother – Sunday,” CBS, 6.1 million.

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