The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere Hits Over 20 Million Viewers

The Walking Dead season 7 premiere was already doing well in the ever-important ratings category, with 17 million live viewers. Now that the live+3 ratings have been tabulated, which include views on DVR, that number has grown to 20.8 million total viewers. The ratings make it the top show on television once again, and puts the season 7 premiere well over the first episode of season 6. The premiere, where viewers tuned in to find out who Negan killed, eclipsed the ratings of the cliffhanger finale by 13% to boot.

That return marks the fifth season in a row that The Walking Dead has debuted as the number one show on TV, a feat on its own.

"When millions of fans come together at almost exactly the same time to share a story – a story elevated, that viewers anticipate and have time to let sink in and discuss, moments we collectively feel – it's as good as television gets and a reminder of the power of weekly storytelling," said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios in a press release. "This week, 'The Walking Dead' once again provided that for all of us. Rest in peace, Glenn and Abraham. You will never be forgotten."

The season premiere also saw 2.5 million views on digital platforms, according to AMC, and was massively popular on social media. It was the most social single episode in 2016, with 4.6 million global tweets about the premiere, and took 9 out of the top 10 hashtags for the night.

The official aftershow hosted by Chris Hardwick, Talking Dead, saw its best ratings ever with 8.7 million total viewers, coming in as the number two show on cable. That's a staggering 35% increase year-over-year in first episodes of the season. Hardwick hosted a special live, outdoor episode with the entire principal cast, plus EP and showrunner Scott M. Gimple and EP and creator Robert Kirkman to talk about the deaths in the premiere and the coming of Negan, the series' most intimidating and dastardly villain yet.

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The Walking Dead continues this Sunday on AMC at 9/8 central with the second episode, "The Well." In the episode, another new community called The Kingdom, ruled over by King Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva, will be introduced. Watch an extended clip from the episode by clicking here.