Walking Dead Season 3 RatingsWhat Dish blackout? Last night’s Season 3 of AMC‘s The Walking Dead opened to 10.9 million total viewers, a big 50% increase vs. the show’s second-season premiere despite AMC’s loss of carriage on Dish Network systems. The Walking Deads Season 3 opener now ranks as the most-watched drama telecast in basic cable history. In adults 18-49 and 25-54, where the series already held the records, last night’s premiere set new benchmarks with 7.3 million adults 18-49, up 52% vs. the Season 2 premiere, and 6.1 million adults 25-54, up 46% (Live+Same Day). How staggering are those demo numbers? The Walking Dead‘s season premiere 18-49 average was higher than any broadcast series this season, excluding Sunday Night Football. The zombie drama topped Modern Family‘s season opener, which drew 7 million adults 18-49 in Live+ SD to lead the fall broadcast series pack.

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The season premiere eclipsed Walking Dead‘s previous series highs posted by its most recent episode, the second-season finale, which in March drew 9 million total viewers, 6 million adults 18-49 and 5.3 million adults 25-54. For the night, Walking Dead averaged 15.2 million total viewers across the premiere and two encore telecasts at 10 PM and midnight. At 11 PM, the second-season premiere of Walking Dead‘s companion talk show Talking Dead,drew 2.1 million viewers (up 85% from its series debut last fall), 1.5 million adults 18-49 (up 92%) and 1.3 million adults 25-54 (up 71%).