On the Season 4 premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead this past Sunday night, zombies rained down upon Daryl Dixon and his crack team of scavengers from the waterlogged roof of a grocery store. In living rooms across North America, viewers poured in to watch the return of the cable ratings darling and push it to yet another ratings record.
This year’s The Walking Dead season premiere faced stiff competition in its core adults 18-49 demographic from NFL Sunday Night Football on NBC and postseason baseball on TBS. Despite the alternate programming choices, The Walking Dead still pulled in a whopping 16.1 million total viewers and broke the previous record held by the Season 3 finale with 12.42 million viewers. It also set a cable record with an 8.2 rating in the 18-49 demo, again eclipsing the Season 3’s mark of 6.4.
To put how fantastic The Walking Dead: Season 4 premiere ratings were in perspective, the Season 3 premiere only a year ago set a record at the time with 10.87 million viewers. The Season 2 premiere two years ago was less than half of this season’s premiere with 7.26 million viewers.
As The Walking Dead: Season 4 premiere ’30 Days Without an Accident’ wrapped up, 5.1 million viewers stuck around to watch the one-hour long live talk show The Talking Dead immediately afterward. That’s a ratings high for the show, as was the 2.6 rating in the 18-49 demo.
Next week’s episode of The Walking Dead: Season 4 will likely see a ratings drop, as it often natural after a big premiere. Even as much as a 25 percent drop would still leave the ratings up where other cable shows can only dream of enjoying.
With The Walking Dead hype also through the roof, online retailer Amazon.com has already begun taking pre-orders for The Walking Dead: Season 4 on Blu-ray for those that want to lock in their copy well ahead of its expected release in August 2014.