AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 4 midseason premiere faced stiff competition in not only NBC’s Sochi 2014 Olympics coverage, but also a Beatles anniversary concert over on CBS. When the night was done, the walkers walked away with the highest ratings of the night.
After a lengthy winter hiatus, The Walking Dead episode 409 ‘After’ drew a total of 15.8 million viewers in the 9/8c time slot last night. Of those, an amazing 10.4 million fell into the 18-49 demo that advertisers covet most, continuing to grow a strong trend that dates back to the inaugural season.
The 10.4 million in the 18-49 demo is so big, in fact, that it broke the franchise’s previous record set during the Season 4 premiere. The way The Walking Dead is running away in the ratings, 11 million will be approached in the Season 5 premiere.
Despite going up against the Olympics and Beatles, The Walking Dead saw big 30 percent increases from the Season 4 midseason finale back in December. That episode, which saw the Governor attack and demolish Rick’s prison with a tank, attracted 12.1 million viewers and 7.7 million in the 18-49 demo. How long will it take The Walking Dead to reach the 20 million mark? The Season 4 premiere has come the closest thus far at 16.1 million total viewers.
NBC saw 25.4 million total viewers tune in to watch the Winter Olympics, but it drew only a 6.9 in the 18-49 demo. Likewise, the Beatles special had 14 million watchers but understandably a poor demo rating of 2.1.
With Daryl returning next Sunday and given the huge fan base that follows actor Norman Reedus, we will be watching episode 410’s ratings closely to see if the lone surviving Dixon brother in the limelight offers a little ratings pop.