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.