'The Walking Dead' Sets New Ratings Record with 12.3 Million Viewers
'The Walking Dead' Sets New Ratings Record with 12.3 Million Viewers
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The cast of The Walking Dead may get smaller as main characters succumb to the zombie apocalypse, but the audience keeps growing. Sunday night the show's mid-season premiere brought in 12.3 million viewers, a new record for the zombie drama.

The previous high for The Walking Dead was 10.87 million viewers for the season 3 premiere in October. The show regularly passed the 10 million mark, but 12.3 million is well above anything the show has done before.

Mid-Season Premiere Recap: Rick and the Governor Go Crazy>>

The number is even more impressive e when you look at the show's competition. The Walking Dead aired against the Grammys which pulled in over 28 million viewers as well as a new episode of Downton Abbey, which has also been setting record ratings for PBS this winter.

This continued rise for The Walking Dead comes following yet another change at the top as showrunner Glen Mazzara will leave the show at the end of season 3. The massive ratings for the show certainly make it somewhat puzzling as to why AMC would try to mess with a successful formula, but that's their prerogative.

The Walking Dead's mid-season premiere focused the aftermath of the assault on Woodbury. The one-eyed Governor prepared for war, Andrea calmed the Woodbury residents, Daryl chose his abusive brother over the group and Rick Grimes went crazier than usual as he waved a gun around while yelling at a vision of his dead wife.

The Walking Dead's success might be attributed to AMC's nonstop devotion to airing the show as much as possible. The mid-season premiere came after a weekend-long marathon of the series, something the network does several times a year. The added boost of an hour-long talk show, Talking Dead, devoted to the episode, also helps build viewer interaction. The same strategy will be applied to Breaking Bad this summer as the show's final episodes will be followed by its own live talk show.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm on AMC. Not that I need to tell you that, because obviously everyone is already watching it.

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(Image courtesy of AMC)