The Walking Dead sprinted back to the airwaves last night on AMC. The resumption of Season 4 drew 15.8 million viewers and 10.4 million in the adults 18-49 demographic. It outperformed NBC’s Sochi Winter Olympics on Sunday night in the demo.
It marks the latest record for the zombie drama, which attracted 12.1 million viewers and 7.7 million adults 18-49 for this season’s winter finale December 1 — a midseason finale record. Before Sunday night’s return this season already was pacing 29% ahead of Season 3, even topping broadcast biggie Sunday Night Football on NBC in the demo on several occasions. That feat came thanks to keeping the momentum going from its October 13 season premiere, which drew a cable-record 16.1 million viewers and 10.4 million adults 18-49.
Following the 9 PM premiere last night, AMC presented Talking Dead at 10, which became the highest premiere in series history with 5.9 million viewers, including 3.9 million adults 18-49. The midseason premiere of the show dissecting the night’s Dead premiere was, as usual, hosted by Chris Hardwick and featured guests Greg Nicotero and Dania Gurira.
Walking Dead’s midseason return may have been challenged, ratings-wise, when some Xbox users got an unscheduled, free sneak peek Saturday morning on Xbox Video. It was subsequently made unavailable; AMC confirmed the slip-up but declined to comment on how the incident occurred. On the other hand, the zombie drama has done just fine, ratings-wise, despite being one of the most pirated shows on air.
The midseason return of Walking Dead also dominated TV-related Twitter activity, and was the No. 1 show of the night on Twitter across all cable and broadcast networks with 1.24 million show-related tweets from 526,174 unique authors, generating a total of 68.4 million impressions, according to Nielsen SocialGuide. Twitter activity peaked at 9 PM ET with 41,011 tweets, representing 86.6% of all television-related Twitter activity at that time. The Walking Dead was also the No. 1 program for the day in TV-related Twitter activity, with the most unique authors and total tweets.