Even facing fierce competition from the Olympics, a Beatles special on CBS, "True Detective" and "Downton" Abbey" and more, AMC's "The Walking Dead
" kicked off the second half of its fourth season on Friday (February 9) night with huge numbers.
Per AMC, the midseason premiere drew 15.8 million viewers, including 10.4 million viewers among adults 18-49. While the Olympics comfortably topped "The Walking Dead" overall, the zombie drama was TV's top show in that key demo, a rather impressive achievement.
"The Walking Dead" was up significantly from its December midseason finale, which drew 12.1 million viewers, including 7.7 million in the key demo. October's season premiere drew a slightly higher 16.1 million viewers and also drew 10.4 million in the key demo.
'With a number of high-profile choices on television last night, for 'The Walking Dead' to deliver record ratings is remarkable. Thanks to the fans, who have been so supportive of this show in so many ways. We share your passion for this world," blurbs Charlie Collier, AMC president. "Thanks also to the terrific team of writers, starting with Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman, who with our outstanding executive producers, cast and crew pour their hearts into this series, always with the fans in mind. I speak for everyone at AMC in expressing my sincere appreciation and our shared excitement for the journey ahead. Chocolate pudding for all!"
In comparison, NBC's canned broadcast of Sochi Olympics coverage averaged 26.2 million viewers and did a 7.4 rating among adults 18-49. [The "Walking Dead" number converts to something like an 8.2 key demo rating.] AMC is estimating that with time-shifted playback, the return should top 20 million. That's a lot of viewers.
Following "The Walking Dead," the companion "Talking Dead" drew 5.9 million viewers including 3.9 million in the key demo. That did not beat the Olympics.