'Walking Dead' season 2 delivers record premiere ratings


Image Credit: AMC

Wow: AMC’s The Walking Dead came back stronger than ever. Sunday’s season 2 premiere rolled up 7.3 million viewers. If you count the show’s repeat, that number climbs to 11 million.

The 90-minute Walking Dead return is up 38 percent compared to its Halloween-night debut last year, and is bigger than its finale too — so this is a series high. Last year, if you’ll recall, the numbers started big and actually managed to improve throughout the six-episode run (the finale delivered 6 million viewers). Walking Dead also delivered a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49, which is the real trick (a few cable drama like The Closer have really big audiences, but their average age is mostly above the demo — and this is bigger than most broadcast shows last week). This is more adults in the demo than any basic cable series in history.

Read more:
‘Walking Dead’ writer Robert Kirkman talks season premiere (and that traumatic ending)
‘The Walking Dead': Did you love or loathe the season premiere?
EW’s recap of ‘The Walking Dead’ season 2 premiere

Comments (118 total) Add your comment
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  • JJ

    GREAT SHOW!! It’s so nice to see a show with quality writing, acting and an all around unique show doing well. In a world where 2 1/2 Men gets stellar ratings and any “hit” drama has C. S. or I. in the title its refreshing to see viewers support a show that thinks outside of the box.

    • The Clooney


      • The Clooney Sucks

        Why don’t you suck it? Better yet, bend over and take it like you know you want it.

      • Sebastian Shaw

        Um, Ken Tucker’s grandson is that you? Grandpa is ready for his medicine now. You can read to him.

    • ltchy

      Love the still of the ‘never-seen/cut-from-the-episode’ escape from the CDC.

    • Marlboro Man

      Frank Darabont’s departure will stink up the remaining episodes, so be prepared for a downhill plunge of the series as it stumbles to find its awkward footing. Hopefully, Kirkman, the writer of the comic adapted for the small tube, can rescue the show’s demise, with his contribution to the scripts. And someone needs to reel in those bone-headed AMC execs.

      • Jamie #1 TWD Fan

        I couldn’t agree More Malboro Man, Joel Stillerman Screw Mad Men, Give The Walking Dead the Money it deserves and Do what you can to Bring Frank back, even if you have to eat some crow and kiss some ass, just DO IT !!!!

  • Buc

    I found the premiere a bit slow, the extra 30min. was them just hiding under cars. Will continue to keep watching though.

    • Dar-a bome

      The best part was the hiding under the cars. The storytelling is what needs real work, and the character development is glacial in progress and so far uninteresting . . . until he twist at the end.

      • caleb

        I’m sure everyone but that guy agrees with you

      • zach

        The series, so far has only covered a time period of a couple weeks. Of course the character development will be slow, nobody is going to have massive developments over night.

      • ltchy

        Hiding from the herd was awesome and suspenseful. The search for Sophia was a little dragged out, but not bad. The autopsy was deliciously gruesome! l’m sure Sophia will be safe and sound at a certain place next episode.

    • Jerry

      Man, I want to love this show, but I agree. I’d go further and say everything that wasn’t the first two episodes have been pretty lousy, including this premiere.
      I’m starting to think that they maybe fired Frank Darabont because it is so lousy. He’s a good filmmaker but maybe not good at episodic TV.
      Hopefully it gets better.

    • cindy

      yeah, the best parts were the characters hiding under the cars and the blond chick in the motor home.

      did we really need THREE long monologues? THREE? And two from Rick? Two in the church and one when Rick is on the walkie. Boring.

      And what’s up with the bad acting last night? Rick’s wife (I don’t even care enough about her character to know her name) and Shane – really – the boy was CRUSHED? Bad bad bad.

      Step it up or this show will plunge just like the Killing.

  • Rafael

    Does anyone knows when the second series is going to be shown in England?

    • John McCuaig

      Its on in the UK Friday evening on FX channel (157 on Virgin- don’t know about Sky). If you don’t have cable then its about a 6 month wait until its on Channel 5.

  • Z

    I like this show, but it’s kind of a shame that some of AMC’s other shows aren’t able to get these kinds of ratings since they are superior to The Walking Dead (i.e. Breaking Bad).

    • Mike

      Large ratings is a GOOD NEWS story for AMC regardless of the show. If they get big numbers for The Walking Dead, it could draw more ratings to BB, Mad Men, Killing, Hell on Wheels…whatever. Ironically, the show that is bringing in the best ratings is the show that they fired their showrunner. Hopefully, AMC will get their act together as they keep expanding their brand. But, while I do love Breaking Bad and Mad Men and think they are superior to much on television these days, I don’t think we have to knock Walking Dead down a notch in doing so. I think it’s a fantastic show.

    • B

      f breaking bad

      • Cain

        F U!

      • Sebastian Shaw

        Go smoke some meth Cain and come back to talk some trash!

    • McProphet

      Let it go, Z. Breaking Bad is on it’s way out anyway. And Mad Men needed to be canceled 2 seasons ago. These ratings show that you don’t have to have some Emmy Wh-0-re of a show to garner viewers.

      • Z

        And you completely missed the point of my comment. Not surprised.

    • sbz

      damn… breaking bad season finale was awesome

  • Sabre

    Great news and well deserved! I can’t wait to see where the season goes and it’s obvious that a lot of viewers were added in between seasons by DVD or Netflix. It’s the most intense and tension filled experience on TV and it pulls no punches. Awesome!

  • Buc

    I’m with you Z, alot of people don’t know what they are missing with BRKN BAD.

  • Dave

    I was a bit underwhelmed by last night’s premiere. It started off good, and I loved the hiding under the cars scene. But after that, it just dragged on, and kept falling on overdone cliches. If they had just edited it down to an hour, it would have been a lot better.

    • Mary

      I totally agree, Dave. Too long and not enough happening.

    • Mac

      It’s funny, because I got a co-worker to watch the season premier and she said sometime after 10 she fell asleep. She said she got tired when they were searching for the girl, which was slow and full of cliches. The soul-searching thing in the church has been done too many times. I agree that character development needs to pick up, too.

    • Chris

      Exactly. There are too many stereotypes and cliches. A kid is missing but we’re going to hang out at the church instead of searching for her? Let’s all sit around and talk while the girl is STILL MISSING.

    • Van

      It was only an hour long for starters and it built up to the kid being shot

  • LOL

    America loves crap.

    • Mike

      Was waiting for that….Did you notice that a couple of people from England are chomping at the bit to watch TWD as well? It would seem that your theory has faults there, LOL.

      • Dar-a bome

        The British love crap too. There ya go–logic plugged.

      • LOL

        Once my home country quits loving crap I’ll start concentrating on our dear friends on the other side of the pond.

      • Mike

        Well, you’ll probably be waiting awhile. I haven’t seen anything suggesting that Fast and the Furious is being spun off into a TV show any time soon. :-)

    • LOL

      I wet my bed in excitement at least 6 times a night thinking about watching “Till Death” reruns.

      • LOL’s MOMMY

        I can verify this, I have the yellow sheets to prove it. Now I have to get back to giving everyone that watched the season opener of Two and a half Men blowies!

      • LOL

        The fake LOL loves crap.

      • LOL

        Excuse me now while i jerk it to Fast Five

      • Sebastian Shaw

        I wonder what TV shows and movies pass LOL’s inspection. Does he only watch biographies and British dramas? Or does he watch all the same shows as us but pretends not to like them?

  • Zoe

    never had a doubt, fantastic show. Those numbers are off the charts

  • Lee

    People are just killing time till Mad Men comes back.

    • Mike

      Hey, I’m with ya. I can’t wait until Mad Men returns…but do you think 7 million people are killing time until Mad Men comes back? Why do only a couple million show up to watch Mad Men when it airs then? Similar to LOL’s statement above, I see flawed logic in your theory.

      • @Mike

        Go somewhere and get laid loser.

      • Mike

        Married for 2 years with a baby on the way, but thanks for your concern.

    • Sebastian Shaw

      I’d rather eat maggots out of zombie’s butt than watch Madman you stupid moron. So sick of you Madmen worshippers. Your SHOW SUCKS!

  • b2quared

    I like how many people have to find a way to spin this negatively. This is the best comic-based show since BTAS in the 90s. It’s got a great scene-stealing star in Norman Reedus and some solid acting in others like Jeff deMunn. It had the most pulse-pounding scene of the week in the car-and-go-seek with the herd. It’s bringing in more of the awesome comic with the chest shot of Carl.

    Really, quit the griping.

    • Kate

      Its not cool to like anything anymore.. get with the show.

  • Kyle

    The cliffhanger at the end will probably keep a lot of those viewers coming back…though if you’ve read the comics you know how it turns out.

    • b2quared

      Kyle, since Shane is still alive at this point and we have characters like the redneck and T-Dawg, we may not know exactly what’s coming next. Although I’d like to think Michonne is coming still ;)

  • bubbsieewubbisee

    I think it was a great. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

  • the Dude

    Am I the only one that thinks that the idea of zombies is just too silly to be a good drama? It might as well be about ghosts chasing them through Atlanta.

    • Dave

      Whoever said supernatural elements can’t make for good drama?

    • b2quared

      And what do you think is a good drama? Week in-week out procedural crime dramas (aka every network tv show)? Honestly, Originality is always responded to as goofy or unrealistic.

    • Michael

      *sigh* just go back to watching housewives of whatever town they pick this time

      • Masimba

        you’re interested to help, plesae visit the Sponsors page or send them your inquiries via the Contact page.I’m glad to see more blogging events like these that are being organized and started in the

    • Sebastian Shaw

      yeah DUDE, it’s not like supernatural stories about imaginary creatures have been popular for over a hundred years now. Oh wait. They have!

  • Karen

    BREAKING BAD is 10 times better than this show,people have such poor taste in t.v.

    • b2quared

      Such a poor argument. The fact YOU like a show doesn’t have to translate to everyone liking a show. Good to see some old-fashioned hatred and inability to accept other points of view.

    • commentor

      I love Walking Dead, and I also love Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Very different shows, all excellent.

      • roygbiv

        I also love all three. They each bring something new and fresh to television.

    • McProphet

      Like Z above you, let it go. Walking Dead isn’t “stealing viewers” from either Breaking Bad or Mad Men. Both shows are on their way out anyway. If you feel that either show is superior to this one, then why are you wasting your time commenting on an article about it?

    • Sebastian Shaw


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