Last night’s mid-season three premiere returned with its largest audience ever in series history delivering 12.3 million viewers at the 9pm premiere. The previous record was 10.9 million viewers from the season three premiere on October 14, 2012. The episode is also the strongest telecast for a series in basic cable history for adults 18-49 with 7.7 million. These results shatter the hit series’ previous record with an increase of +6% (A18-49) over the October 14, 2012 season three premiere. The Walking Dead season three series average for adults 18-49 delivers 6.8 million outperforming other television series season averages including Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Two and A Half Men, and NCIS. In addition to the 9 PM premiere, the show encored at 11 PM, midnight and 2am, delivering 16.6 million viewers for the night.
In between, Talking Dead delivered another 4.1 million viewers--not a great hold over from the previous hour, obviously, but a strong debut in its new, hour-long format.
"When you look at numbers like this, the first thing that comes to mind is how grateful we are to the fans of this show. They embrace The Walking Dead in a way that we wanted to believe was possible but we never take for granted,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “The cast and crew put everything they have into making this show. They’re a phenomenally talented group who truly give their all. We congratulate everyone involved.”
Last night's show also proved to be a major force on social media. The Walking Dead was a top trend on Twitter for the night of the mid-season premiere, with "Daryl" staying on the list throughout the night.