The final episode of The Walking Dead set one last record. On Sunday night, the AMC zombie drama aired a 90-minute series finale that featured Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) last stand against the living and the dead at the Commonwealth. Wrapping up the series after 177 episodes across 11 seasons was a coda ending on Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who returned for the final minutes of the episode that was simulcast on AMC and AMC+ as part of the live Walking Dead Finale Event in Los Angeles.
All that and one last major death resulted in AMC+'s highest single day of viewership ever with The Walking Dead series finale, Variety reports. Titled "Rest in Peace," the series finale is also the most-watched episode of any show on the platform since AMC+ launched in October 2020.
Unlike previous episodes of Seasons 10 and 11, which were released one week early on AMC+, the series finale premiered on streaming at the same time the episode premiered on AMC's linear channel. On cable, The Walking Dead drew its largest audience in nearly two years with the much-anticipated series finale, coming in as the No. 2 cable drama in the 18-49 demographic (behind Paramount Network's Yellowstone Season 5).
According to Variety citing Nielsen's Live + 3 Day data, "Rest in Peace" averaged 3.1 million total viewers for a 36% increase over the "Family" penultimate episode that left off on a huge cliffhanger. The finale drew 1.5 million viewers in adults 25-54 (+53%) and 1.2 million adults among the 18-49 crowd (+75%), Variety reports.
"What a great conclusion to the 'zombie show' that kicked off on Halloween night in 2010 and went on to become the most successful series in the history of cable television," said Dan McDermott, AMC's president of entertainment and AMC Studios. "To celebrate this extraordinary series for more than three hours at a live event with thousands of the fans who have driven this series since the beginning was a perfect way to end the flagship series while, at the same time, sharing our collective excitement for the stories and worlds yet to be explored in this growing and vibrant franchise."
On Halloween night 2010, The Walking Dead's "Days Gone Bye" pilot premiered as the #1 cable series launch of all time. According to numbers provided by AMC, 6.3 million total viewers and 4.3 million adults 18-49 watched the premiere in Nielsen Live+3 ratings. In 2022 to date, The Walking Dead ranks as the #2 scripted cable program, behind only Yellowstone, and has stood as the #1 or #2 scripted cable program every year since 2010.
The third part of The Walking Dead's extended eleventh and final season ranked as the #1 most viewed series in the history of AMC+, according to AMC, topping its own record from the second part earlier in 2022. Since AMC's premiere streaming service launched with the flagship show's Season 10 finale in October 2020, The Walking Dead has remained the most-viewed franchise on the platform, and streaming viewership has grown every season since then.