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'The Walking Dead': How to comprehend its massive ratings

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The Walking Dead‘s ratings are big. Like really, really big.

It’s actually become a tad difficult to describe how big they are. AMC’s zombie drama is huge among total viewers — averaging nearly 19.9 million per episode when including seven days of DVR playback. But what’s truly stunning is the show’s adults 18-49 rating, the number that matters most to advertisers. That most recent average rating — a 10.3 with DVR — is second to nothing. Which makes comparisons tricky. So I put together this guide to give The Walking Dead‘s dominance some perspective. Note: Every show’s average below is only counting episodes with seven full days of DVR playback available, so this uses everybody’s largest currently available demo rating.

The Walking Dead is 23 percent bigger among adults 18-49 than NBC’s Sunday Night Football (8.4), which is broadcast’s top rated weekly telecast.

The biggest entertainment nowadays is CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (7.7), which has more viewers than The Walking Dead. But its demo rating is nowhere close.

You know ABC’s Scandal (4.8)? One of the biggest hits on TV, right? Well, The Walking Dead doubles its rating.

In fact, The Walking Dead is about equal to almost five episodes of CBS’ The Mentalist (2.3).

And seven episodes of NBC’s Sean Saves the World (1.5).

You can fit about nine episodes of The CW’s Arrow (1.1), Comedy Central’s The Daily Show (1.1), TNT’s Franklin & Bash (1.0) or HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (1.2) inside The Walking Dead.

Or roughly 51 episodes of Fox News’ Hannity (0.19).

Okay! I feel like you get the point. It beats everything. So what IS bigger than The Walking Dead? READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': David Morrissey discusses the return of the Governor and what's next!

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead.] READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Showrunner Scott Gimple on what's next for the Governor

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead.] READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Showrunner Scott Gimple weighs in on Rick vs. Carol debate

Fans of The Walking Dead have been taking sides all week: Did Rick make the right move in not allowing Carol back to the prison after she killed two people in the hopes of stopping a deadly virus from spreading, or was she merely making the tough call that he was unable and unwilling to make because he was off farming? The woman who plays Carol, Melissa McBride, weighed in with her thoughts earlier this week, and now Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple offers his perspective on the debate. Will we ever see Carol again? And where did the inspiration for the big virus storyline come from? Scott Gimple reveals all! (Which is to say that he reveals as much as he feels like revealing, which is…some.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You gave Carol this great storyline of her evolving into this woman ready to embrace the extremes she sees necessary to survive in this world, and then you get rid of her. Why do that to poor Carol, Scott?
SCOTT M. GIMPLE: So I guess you don’t like Rick’s move? READ FULL STORY

'Walking Dead': Melissa McBride says she was 'floored' by what happened to Carol

[SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information on Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, so read on only if you have already watched the episode]

It’s been a bolder Carol this season on The Walking Dead. But that boldness may have done her in after Rick — reacting to the news that Carol had killed Tyreese’s girlfriend Karen and another guy named David in the hopes of stopping the killer virus from spreading — told her she was no longer welcome at the prison and abandoned her on the side of the road, alone with a car full of supplies. We chatted with the woman who plays Carol, Melissa McBride, to get her take on the controversial decision. How did she react when she heard the news? What does she think about Carol not being able to say goodbye to Daryl? And will we ever see her character again? Read on for answers! READ FULL STORY

'Walking Dead': Melissa McBride talks about the 'metamorphosis' of Carol

[SPOILER ALERT: This article contains information on Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead, so read on only if you have already watched the episode.] READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead' renewed for 5th season

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And now here’s the least-surprising renewal of the fall: AMC is bringing back The Walking Dead for a fifth season.

“We are very happy to make what has to be one of the most anti-climactic renewal announcements ever: The Walking Dead is renewed for a fifth season,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “This is a show that has erased traditional distinctions between cable and broadcast. Its expanding base of passionate fans has grown every season, most recently – and most notably – with the season four premiere earlier this month, which broke viewership records for the series and became the biggest non-sports telecast in cable history. On behalf of the incredible team on both sides of the camera, thank you to the fans and here’s to more Dead.”

As part of the deal, AMC announced that new showrunner Scott Gimple will remain on board as the lead writer-producer (here’s our take on why that’s a good thing). So far this fall’s Walking Dead premiere has garnered 20.2 million viewers, and 13.2 million adults 18-49, a new record for any non-sports cable telecast.

'The Walking Dead': Danai Gurira on the evolution -- Smiling! Crying! -- of Michonne

Michonne showed up last season on The Walking Dead slicing and dicing with her big katana sword. She was a force of nature, but one with a wall built up around her. Emotions were few and far between. But this season we have been introduced to Michonne 2.0. Instead of merely glaring and brooding, Michonne has actually made connections to people in her community — connections which have led to the most shocking development of all of season 4: Michonne smiling! READ FULL STORY

'Walking Dead' ratings still huge: Could this be the best season?

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Could this be the best season of The Walking Dead? Not just in terms of the numbers, but creatively?

First here are the latest ratings: Sunday night’s The Walking Dead viewership was down from last week’s premiere. Yet it was still easily the biggest audience the AMC zombie drama has ever delivered before this fall. The Walking Dead had 13.9 million viewers and and a 7.1 rating in the adult demo, slipping 14 percent from last Sunday’s record setter. That’s a typical second-week percentage drop, and The Walking Dead also faced a massive telecast of Sunday Night Football (the NFL’s biggest overnight October deliver since 1998). So I suspect DVR will recover a lot of that ground.

Now, here’s my take on season 4′s first couple weeks: READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Lauren Cohan explains why Maggie 'has to keep her $#%! together'

Things seemed so peachy keen for Glenn and Maggie when season 4 of The Walking Dead began. They were engaged and having a grand ol’ time sleeping in the watch tower. But now there’s a killer virus going around. Glenn has been exposed to people that are sick and Maggie has not. So how exactly is the farmer’s daughter supposed to help while also keeping her safe distance? READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Norman Reedus says this is 'by far our best season'

The season 4 premiere of The Walking Dead featured one of the most epic action scenes in the show’s history, with the survivors encountering death from above as a supermarket roof caved in, sending zombies — and a helicopter — down upon our unlucky survivors. “It seemed like that episode was too big to get,” said Norman Reedus when he stopped by the Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) studios to chat about all things Walking Dead. “We went large with the first one.” But if you thought that was intense, Reedus says to just wait. “This season is crazy,” says the man who plays Daryl Dixon. “It’s by far our best season, and the writing is just phenomenal.”

Now you can hear the entire interview with Reedus right here on the InsideTV Podcast. Listen in as Norman talks about the evolution of Daryl Dixon, and why he now in season 4 has turned into “a reluctant leader.” There’s also plenty of chatter about Norman’s relationship with his costars and fans. Find out why Norman “started licking people on set,” and how Andrew Lincoln is “like my BFF.” Norman also gives his side of the story as to his hotel pranking of the man who plays Rick Grimes, and explains why everyone keeps coming up to him and requesting he give them the finger. It’s an in-depth interview with the fan favorite. READ FULL STORY

'The Walking Dead': Michonne rides into battle? -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS

As Andrew Lincoln warned us the other day, some stuff is certainly about to hit the fan on The Walking Dead. People (as in Carl’s buddy Patrick) are dying. Pigs (as in Rick’s farm animals) are dying. And crazy women are walking around in the woods attempting to find meals for their zombie head husbands. So much for there being 30 days without an incident. READ FULL STORY

'Walking Dead': Andrew Lincoln warns 'something terrible happens that divides the group irrevocably'

As if being lured by a crazy woman in the woods to be a meal for her zombified husband in the premiere wasn’t bad enough, Andrew Lincoln warned that things are about to turn a lot more ghastly on The Walking Dead. Lincoln stopped by the Entertainment Weekly Radio studios (SiriusXM, channel 105) to discuss the premiere episode of the AMC drama, and he teased that the new illness that has infected both Rick’s pig and Carl’s friend Patrick has no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

“I love this story arc,” said Lincoln. “You wait and see where it heads. It puts far more pressure on the group, and something terrible happens within this story arc that divides the group irrevocably.” Uh-oh. (Maybe if Daryl Dixon would stop licking his fingers and then shaking people’s hands they could at least slow down the spreading of germs. Where’s the Purell?!?) READ FULL STORY

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