The new season of The Walking Dead, the popular original series from AMC, debuted with groundbreaking numbers for an entertainment series airing on cable television. According to the New York Times blog "Behind the Screens, Between the Lines," the hit show had a "monster" of a night as its audience came in at 12.3 million viewers watching at home.
A more impressive feat, The Walking Dead also pulled in 7.7 million in the category most popular and sought after by advertisers, viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, according to the blog post. Once again, that is the best in cable television history and a larger number than most entertainment series on rival broadcast networks.
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This is a considerable feat considering that the show's competition that night was The Grammy Awards telecast on CBS. Some 28.1 million Americans watched the Grammys on Feb. 10, a 30 percent drop from last year's emotionally-charged ceremony following the death of pop icon Whitney Houston, as reported by Reuters earlier today.
Despite this year's lower numbers, the 3 ½ hour awards show, which broadcast live, was the second largest TV audience for music's biggest night since 1993 and many of the critics gave their approval of the telecast.
The Walking Dead ratings represent a spike in numbers from the previous record set by the series just last October, coming in with a total audience of 10.9 million viewers.
The number of viewers in the 18 to 49 category for The Walking Dead beats the average for almost every entertainment show on network television, according to the blog post.
However, at least one series, CBS's Big Bang Theory, does over time attract more viewers in that category. Its last episode pulled in 7.84 million viewers and its top episode this past January averaged 8.15 million viewers.