"Walking Dead" Premiere Beats "Sunday Night Football" With Record-Breaking Ratings

If there was ever proof positive of genre television series taking back the airwaves, it's this: AMC has revealed via press release that the season five premiere of "The Walking Dead" reached 17.3 million viewers -- 11 million in the coveted 18-49 demographic -- beating everything else in its slot, including Sunday Night Football. "The Walking Dead" beat Sunday Night Football by 2.5 million viewers in the 18-49 demo.

"It's a Dead man's party. Who could ask for more?" Charlie Collier, AMC president said via press release. "Enormous thanks to our friends and executive producers Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero -- who also directed last night's terrific premiere - Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert and Tom Luse and all of their fellow producers, cast and crew for everything they do to make the #1 show on television such a unique and incredible experience for the fans. 'The Walking Dead' is one of those increasingly rare shows today that can command a live audience not significantly cannibalized by time-shifted viewing. Who would have thought that cannibalized television could be curtailed by cannibal-ized television?"

The high viewership and ratings continues a massive surge for the series, which just got renewed for a sixth season and has a companion series pilot on the way. The season premiere brought in an incredible number of viewers, well up from new viewership records set by season four.

"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays on AMC.

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