One time might sting a bit, but a second time it really has to hurt. Just like it did February 9 with its midseason return, AMC’s The Walking Dead has beaten NBC’s Olympics coverage in the adults 18-49 demo. The zombie drama drew 13.3 million at 9 PM on Sunday night and 8.7 million in the key demo for a 6.8 rating. That’s up from the 5.6 rating among adults 18-49 that NBC’s Sochi broadcast pulled in during the same hour. Last week, the blockbuster drama series drew 10.4 million in the 18-49 demo with 15.8 million viewers overall. That ratings result was an 8.2, compared with the Olympics’ 7.4 in the slot. NBC’s primetime Olympics’ coverage had a 6.9 rating on February 9 and a 4.8 rating on Sunday. Sunday’s Walking Dead was once again the top show on both broadcast and cable in the key demo.
Overall, NBC’s bruised Olympics coverage has been 15% behind Vancouver 2010 so far in the demo this Winter Games, with a 3% slip from Torino 2006. It’s worth remembering that nearby Vancouver was broadcast virtually live, while Torino was on a tape-delay like Sochi. Torino also didn’t have the vast streaming resources and other platforms NBC is utilizing for the Sochi Games.
Having said that, the Olympics aren’t the first big-ticket NBC sports event to feel the wrath of Walking Dead. Surprising many, the AMC series scored a couple of demo touchdowns last year against NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Then again, for a show that was up 29% in the first half of its fourth season over the first half of Season 3, Walking Dead has been on a winning streak this cycle. The series’ Season 4 premiere in October drew a cable-record 16.1 million viewers and 10.4 million adults 18-49. WD’s Season 4 midseason finale in December had 12.1 million total viewers watch its 9 PM broadcast with 7.7 million in the 18-49 demo – another record for the show.