The Walking Dead Season 5 Premiere Outpaces Sunday Night Football With Record-Breaking Ratings


The television season is very much upon us, folks. As daylight dwindles and temperatures follow suit, fall presents the perfect window of time for networks to parade their eagerly awaited series’ both old and new. And perhaps one of the most anticipated series openers belonged to The Walking Dead, which debuted on Sunday night to record-shattering figures.

According to official numbers published by AMC, the post-apocalyptic survival show managed to pull in a staggering 17.3 million viewers — 11 million of which belonged to the 18-49 demographic — meaning the fifth series opener now holds the title for the most viewed non-sports programme on cable television.

“It’s a Dead man’s party. Who could ask for more?” Charlie Collier, AMC president said via press release. “Enormous thanks to our friends and executive producers Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero — who also directed last night’s terrific premiere – Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert and Tom Luse and all of their fellow producers, cast and crew for everything they do to make the #1 show on television such a unique and incredible experience for the fans.”

As it happens, that prestigious accolade was previously held by The Walking Dead’s season 4 debut, which itself pulled in 16.1 million viewers at this same point last year. In fact, so confident were AMC in the show’s return that the network even renewed the serial for a sixth season late last week.

Of course, with great success comes a hoard of knock-off counterfeits, as Variety reports that AMC’s reanimated cash cow also hit record levels for the number of illegal downloads, after the returning episode was pirated 1.27 million times within the first 24 hours.

For more on The Walking Dead, you can read our own in-depth review of this season’s maiden episode, No Sanctuary.