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'Walking Dead' Scores Amazing Record-Breaking Premiere

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 15, 2012 at 5:06PM

Season Three premiere of AMC's zombie actioner "The Walking Dead" scored 10.9 million viewers in the first showing and 15 million for the night, breaking a cable record and proving that when it comes to grabbing the public, genre always wins.
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'The Walking Dead'
AMC 'The Walking Dead'

Sunday was jammed with must-see television this week. The inexplicably weak-hitting New York Yankees were crushed by the Detroit Tigers for the second time in the American League playoffs, while two HBO shows continued their third seasons: "Boardwalk Empire," limping along, and the still vital "Treme." Showtime's "Homeland" finally missed a beat with a rather melodramatic episode that wound up in the same place as last week.

I missed the start of the second season of the revamped "Upstairs Downstairs," which now that I've seen the superior "Downton Abbey," I may just skip. And I can't wait to catch the Season Three premiere of AMC's zombie actioner "The Walking Dead," which scored 10.9 million viewers in the first showing and 15 million for the night, breaking a cable record and proving that when it comes to grabbing the public, genre always wins.

That makes the premiere the most-watched episode in the "Walking Dead" series, of any cable series, and  for any cable drama.  And that was without any help from the Dish network.

A year ago with Dish carrying the show, the Season two premiere drew 7.3 million viewers, while the finale pulled 9 million.  By comparison, in the 9 pm slot "Empire" has been averaging 2.5 million. "Walking Dead" beat out Showtime's "Dexter" as well as all its network competition, CBS's "The Good Wife" and ABC's "Revenge." This at a time when the numbers for ABC and CBS are significantly down; thanks to its comedy series, NBC is up 12 %.

Variety does a complete breakdown of the week's numbers here.

This article is related to: Television, AMC


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.