We already knew that AMC’s zombie apocalypse show was No. 1 in Live+Same Day results but it is also the record breaking tops in Live+3 ratings — becoming the most watched non-sports telecast in cable history.
First, The Walking Dead shattered its own records and cable records with a Season 5 debut Sunday that drew 17.3 million total viewers and 11 million adults 18-49 for an 8.7 rating. Not only did that leave everyone — including NBC and the NFL’s usually unassailable Sunday Night Football — soundly tackled, but now the AMC series has added even more muscle with 29% and 32% surges in its premiere Live+3 ratings among total viewers and the key demo.
Bursting the previous record set by last year’s Live+3 results, the Season 5 debut added a strong 5.086 million total viewers via DVR to the 17.3 million of Live+SD. That’s a total of 22.372 million. The October 13, 2013 Season 4 debut had 20.2 million total viewers when the 4.1 million from Live+3 results were added to the 16.1 million of the Live+SD ratings. That 2013 result is actually what put WD in the top spot viewership-wise for the first time as it unseated previous throne occupant, Disney Channel’s High School Musical 2. Back in 2007, HSM2 added another 1 million viewers in Live+3 to the 17.2 million who watched its original airing on August 17 that year. But that all feels so pre-walker now doesn’t it?
In terms of the key demo, Sunday’s premiere added another 3.537 million in Live+3 results and left everyone in the dust. When combined with the same-day numbers that makes a blockbuster total of 14.523 million. Not only is that another record for the series based on the Robert Kirkman co-created comics, but the 11.7 rating beats everything on both cable and broadcast this fall season so far — including SNF and the latest season premiere of CBS’ powerhouse The Big Bang Theory.
Around the world, the Season 5 opener of Walking Dead saw a 45% increase over its Season 4 debut, according to Fox International, which handled the show globally.