AMC’s The Walking Dead returned last night from its third-season break with 12.3 million viewers, a series high for the zombie apocalypse drama. Up against the Grammys, the 9 PM midseason premiere pulled in 7.7 million viewers among Adults 18-49, a basic-cable record for a series and up 6% from the show’s previous high for its October 14 season premiere. In total, 16.6 million viewers watched Walking Dead last night combining the 9 PM premiere and 11 PM, midnight and 2 AM encores on AMC. The series was back Sunday for the last eight episodes of its third season after a break of more than two months.
The big numbers Sunday come after a record-breaking third season so far that saw the show pull in a massive 10.9 million Live+Same Day total viewers for its October 14 premiere, which bested all other telecasts cable and broadcast. The Walking Dead’s midseason finale on December 2 garnered 10.5 million viewers in its 9 PM time slot and 15.2 million for the entire night with encores. The Walking Dead’s Season 3 series average in the 18-49 demo is ahead of the averages for big network shows like The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and NCIS.
Walking Dead was renewed for a fourth season late last year. That season is expected to begin in October, according to series executive producer Gale Anne Hurd.