Zombie fever appears not to have peaked, as AMC's "The Walking Dead" returned on Sunday (October 16) night to record ratings.
 
The super-sized 90-minute premiere drew a whopping 7.3 million viewers, including an impressive 4.8 million viewers among adults 18-49. That was a solid 38 percent increase over the Season One average in total viewers and a 36 percent increase in the 18-49 demo. "Walking Dead" also pulled in 4.2 million viewers among adults 25-54, a 35 percent increase over last season's average.
 
Two additional "Walking Dead" airings at 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. brought the premiere night cumulative audience to 11 million viewers.
 
Not surprisingly, AMC execs are pleased.
 
"'The Walking Dead' is one of those rare television programs that
reaches both a core genre fan as well as broad audiences simply looking
for a great, character-based story," blurbs AMC President Charlie Collier. "We’re so proud of and grateful for the amazing team on both sides of the camera who works so hard and is so committed to making this a unique programming event. That 'The Walking Dead' is now the most watched drama in the history of basic cable is staggering, just like our zombies."
 
As Collier states, Sunday's "Walking Dead" premiere drew more 18-49 and 25-54 viewers than any basic cable drama telecast in history, a record that had stood for 10 years. Other than NBC's football telecast, no Sunday night programming, broadcast or cable, could touch the demo numbers for "Walking Dead." 
 
The first season of "Walking Dead" averaged 5.2 million total viewers, including 3.5 million among 18-49, making it then the most watched drama series in basic cable history for the demo.