The Walking Dead cannot be stopped. Pitted against a ratings juggernaut like NBC's Winter Olympics, the AMC zombie drama keeps rolling along, barely flinching at the competition. While most networks shelve new episodes of otherwise solid ratings draws during the two weeks the Olympics airs, The Walking Dead, like many of its characters when facing an undead legion of zombies, refuses to back down.
First, as reported by Inquisitr, the Walking Dead's mid-season premiere crushes the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, a huge ratings getter for NBC against any other competition. And more importantly, it beats it out in the highly coveted 18-49 demographic advertisers crave. Then, just this past Sunday, Claimed, Episode 11 of season four does it again, defeating the Winter Olympics closing ceremony, as reported by Inquisitr.
While it's somewhat understandable that The Walking Dead mid-season premiere episode may draw in more viewers than normal, as marketing campaigns usually start weeks in advance to try and draw in new viewers, it's almost unheard of that each week, the ratings continue to remain strong enough to best event driven television like the Winter Olympics.
So what accounts for this loyal stream of zombie-loving Walking Dead fans? Is it merely the zombie genre itself that can be attributed to the show's success? Or is there something more? According to the International Business Times, it comes down to the characters more than just the undead stage itself:
"This show is not just a horror show with the traditional kill-that-zombie-and-move-on setup. It is beyond walker slaying. Fans love the ongoing storyline of The Walking Dead. The show does not end the excitement in a one-hour format. Also, it allows the fans to connect with the characters at an emotional level. Fans care about the lives of their favorite characters. Numerous tissue boxes were emptied when Hershel Greene was brutally beheaded in The Walking Dead season 4, mid-season finale episode."And therein lies the simple fact: at any moment, a fan-favorite character on The Walking Dead can die, making it more event-driven than the Olympics and other live sporting events in that sense. In the past, networks would try and build an event around the death of a major character, while in The Walking Dead it has become commonplace for it come unexpectedly - and gruesomely. Fans are glued to each episode because they dare not wake up the next morning to find out their favorites - including stars Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes or Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon - may have bit the bucket.
And with Comicbook.com predicting that, "one of the main cast members who has not been killed in the comic book series will die during Season 4" The Walking Dead will continue to carry that ratings torch into the spring and beyond.