The mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead pulled in 12.3 million viewers Sunday, marking a series high for AMC’s hit zombie drama series.
Airing at the same time as the Grammy Awards, “The Suicide King” drew 7.7 million viewers among the key 18-49 demographic, breaking a basic-cable record for a series, according to Deadline. The season 3B premiere was up six percent from the season premiere on October 14. “Seed” drew 10.9 million viewers, making it, at that time, the most watched program with the exception of Sunday Night Football. The episode received 5.8 million viewers in the adult 18-49 demographic.
Between the 9 pm premiere and encores at 11, midnight, and 2 am, 16.6 million viewers watched The Walking Dead when it came back from a two-month break.
Season 3 has been the best for The Walking Dead. The mid-season finale, “Made to Suffer,” pulled in 10.5 million viewers in its 9 pm premiere. With the encores, the episode drew 15.2 million viewers for the entire night, up 58 percent from the previous midseason finale, “Pretty Much Dead Already.” The season 3 average in 18-49 demographic is ahead of the averages for shows like The Big Bang Theory and NCIS.
With the ratings the series achieved in the first half, there was, of course, the possibility that the second half wouldn’t perform as well. However, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd said she trusted the show’s fans.
When asked if she was worried about the return, she said, “You know, you just have to put that out of your mind and just continue to tell the best, most character-driven, exciting stories. And we fully trust AMC to be able to market the show so our audience hasn’t forgotten that we’re there.”
Hurd also said, “You always worry that people will find something more compelling to do at 9 PM on a Sunday night. But I hope that instead they’ll be sticking with us.”
Did you watch The Walking Dead return? What did you think?