It might be the Denver Broncos’ quarterback breaking records this week instead of The Walking Dead, but the zombie apocalypse series still has significant bite. After a record-smashing Season 5 debut on October 12, AMC’s blockbuster based on the Robert Kirkman co-created comics pulled in 15.143 million total viewers and 9.796 million adults 18-49 on Sunday night. That comes as the 10 PM Walking Dead just avoided a surge on NBC’s Sunday Night Football as the Broncos’ Peyton Manning threw his 509th touchdown pass to set the NFL’s TD record.
Last week, a blowout game on SNF helped put Walking Dead in the top spot demo-wise on both broadcast and cable.
Week-to-week, Walking Dead was down 12% in total viewers from October 12, which was what the series did in Week 2 of its fourth season last October 20. Written by Kirkman, last night’s “Strangers’ episode got a 7.7 rating in the key demo. That’s an 11% drop from last week’s premiere but still better than SNF’s 7.0 fast nationals rating and everything else on both broadcast and cable last night. If it holds, that’s two in a row for Walking Dead, though the SNF demo result could change when final numbers come in. Last week, SNF went from a 6.6 to its eventual 7.0.
Still, last night’s Walking Dead is now the series’ third most watched show ever after last week’s Season 5 debut and the Season 4 premiere on October 13 last year, which pulled in 16.1 million total viewers. Also, last night’s demo decline is actually 2% less than the drop the show had among 18-49s for the second show of its fourth season last year.