The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere was poised to be the highest-rated episode of all time for any cable network, but some fans of the show might be surprised at how the ratings turn out. As nearly every fan of The Walking Dead already knew, this was the episode that finally revealed who died at the hands of the supervillain known as Negan.
First of all, the most watched episode of The Walking Dead before last Sunday was the Season 5 premiere, which pulled in 17.3 million viewers, according to Deadline. For a cable horror TV series, those numbers were historically unheard of, with the exception of The X-Files. In the past, the only shows that pulled off numbers like that were from broadcast networks like Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC.
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) October 25, 2016
The Walking Dead is the first show on basic cable that has broken through the glass ceiling in total viewers and made the thriving industry a must-see event. That is nothing new for AMC, a network that has boasted some of the most-talked-about TV shows in the past decade. Last Sunday, October 23, The Walking Dead pulled in 17 million viewers to see who Negan killed, which didn’t even come until nearly 20 minutes had passed in the episode.
But here is the thing that might be even more impressive for The Walking Dead. The Season 5 premiere also pulled that in, and then some. But those numbers represent a rating from a system that is called “Live + 3.” That basically translates to the amount of people watching the show “live” (when it airs) and also adds the amount of people who watch it over the next three days via DVR or on the AMC website.
As most people are aware, there has not been three days to pass since that episode of The Walking Dead aired, so the numbers are basically incomplete at this point. The amount of people that tune in for the three days post-air could vary anywhere between three million to 10 million. It is really hard to guess at this point.
Once the Live + 3 numbers come in, fans of The Walking Dead may see the premiere episode of Season 7 rise to as much as 27 million. But again, that is just in theory at this point and we will not know until the final numbers are tallied.
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) October 24, 2016
There is also another number that is most impressive for The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere. Although a total viewership is always a good thing to look at, there is another number that is sought out by advertisers who are looking for a key demographic to see their commercials. That demographic is the highly coveted 18-49 age range.
Fans of The Walking Dead should make no mistake, this is the number that keeps shows on the air and gives them bigger budgets. The Walking Dead was sure enough to produce in that category as well, pulling in 10.7 million viewers in the age demographic, effectively blowing all of their competition out of the water. That includes Sunday Night Football and Empire. The Walking Dead beat Sunday Night Football by 53 percent and the Empire premiere (9/21/16) by 100 percent.
In the past year, The Walking Dead was still the highest-rated TV show on cable and broadcast, but it was declining in the ratings. That includes a Season 6 premiere that was significantly behind the Season 5 premiere at 14.6 million viewers. But this sudden upswing is rare for a major TV drama, especially in the historically low-rated category of horror.
— Daily Dead (@DailyDeadNews) October 25, 2016
There is also good reason to believe that The Walking Dead will be retaining many of those viewers for subsequent episodes of the show on Season 7, given the way that the first episode ended. This article will not spoil that for you, though.
[Featured Image by AMC]