The new season of The Walking Dead has, if possible, been overshadowed by its incredible surge in ratings. One reason for this trend is that the ratings truly are incredible. In terms of total viewers, the first two seasons were impressive for cable—averaging 5.24 and 6.90 million viewers, respectively. Despite off-screen production turmoil—news stories chronicled the battle for AMC’s funds among its various series, particularly with respect to the enormous cost of Mad Men in relation to its inferior ratings—ratings went up during and between seasons.
However, the beginning of the third season last month saw an incredible jump, with the premiere drawing 10.87 million viewers, including an unbelievable (it’s true, it’s on Wikipedia!) 5.4 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demo, with the number growing even larger when factoring in re-airings, DVR viewership, etc. It’s amazing how impressive these numbers are, as these demo numbers (which it has basically maintained through the first half of the current half-season) are higher than any broadcast demo numbers, outside of football.