For two ‘premieres’ in a row now, hit zombie drama series The Walking Dead has broken its own record for viewer numbers in America, after the half-season opener attracted an audience of 12.3m on AMC on Sunday night (11 February).
Beating out the 10.9m that tuned in to watch the main season 3 premiere last October, the new episode entitled ‘The Suicide King’ also broke nationwide records, after it became the highest-rated telecast of a regular series ‘in basic cable history’ when measuring the 18-49 demographic (representative of 7.7m of last night’s viewers).
This feat has helped the show bring up their season 3 average to 6.8m for 18-49′s, leaving it rated higher this season than major network shows such as Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Modern Family, amongst many others.
AMC president Charlie Collier noted of the highly-impressive figures for the cable network: “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. 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.”
While ‘The Suicide King’ is unlikely to take on similar groundbreaking achievements when it airs on FOX UK this Friday (15 February), can The Walking Dead latch onto continued zombie fever in the USA and maintain their very high averages?
In other news, while the hit show will have to claim at least some of the plaudits for the popular downloadable game released last year by Telltale Games (despite being based mainly on the comic book series of the same name), the developers have revealed that their planned sequel game, The Walking Dead Season 2, will have closer ties to the TV show, in an effort to attract an even broader audience to the popular franchise.
Telltale CEO Dan Connors hinted: “A huge goal for us is what happens between episodes [of the show]. How do you carry the experience through? How do you use this ability we have to keep people engaged and talking? The team is looking at ways to allow the community to stay connected with one another during and between episodes. There’s also talk of perhaps tying the game, or at least the game’s characters, in closer with the show. There’s nothing saying our characters couldn’t cross over with their characters at some point in the timeline. It’s a very interesting concept for us.”
If it is developed quickly enough to start with a 2013 release, the The Walking Dead Season 2 could end up joining disc-based game The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct and the regular show in a very big year for the zombie brand…