Nielsen Overnights'The Walking Dead' Season 2 Finale Shatters its Own Record Ratings -- Again
By Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter
's 'Live Feed' Blog - Mar. 19, 2012
Sunday's bloody and shocking episode of AMC's The Walking Dead shattered the zombie drama's own ratings record for a second time.
The series, based on the graphic novels created by Robert Kirkman, drew 9 million total viewers, collecting 6 million in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 and 5.3 million in the adults 25-54 and 3.2 million in the 18-34 demographics, besting its previous records from February's Season 2 midseason premiere. That episode, which came after the show's two-month hiatus, drew 8.1 million total viewers and 5.4 million viewers in 18-49 as well as 4.4 million in adults 25-54, both then-records in the demo.
The February numbers topped another mark set by the zombie drama, which came with October's 90-minute Season 2 premiere. That episode, which followed a nearly year wait after the six-episode freshman year of the drama starring Andrew Lincoln, marked a then-record for any basic drama in basic-cable history in the demos, drawing 4.8 million in 18-49 and 4.2 million in 25-54, shattering a nearly 10-year-old mark in the demos.
In the episode, the survivors learned the results of the Season 1 cliffhanger -- what Jenner whispered to Rick (Lincoln) at the CDC before its dramatic explosion. In addition, the final moments introduced the location of the third season -- the highly anticipated prison featured in the comics -- as well as the introduction of the iconic heroine, Michonne, featured in the series.
Sunday's finale was up drastically over the "monumental" penultimate episode, which featured the heavily hyped (and somewhat anticipated) departure of Jon Bernthal's Shane. Which drew 6.9 million total viewers and 4.6 million in 18-49, with 4.1 million in the 25-54 metric.
Sunday's Season 2 finale ranks as its highest-rated episode in series history and as the No. 1 drama series in basic cable history in the three demographics. In addition, the hour was up more than 50 percent in total viewers compared with its Season 1 finale. Including repeats at 11:30 p.m., the installment drew 10.5 million total viewers.
Sunday's record ratings come as Kirkman faces a lawsuit from childhood friend Tony Moore over financial compensation to the lucrative franchise.
AMC announced in January that the third season of the series, topped by showrunner Glen Mazzara, would expand to 16 episodes. Season 3 of The Walking Dead will begin in October.
Check out some ratings highlights from the series below.1. Season 2 finale 3/18/12 -- 9 million total viewers, 6 million in 18-49, 5.3 million in 25-54
2. Season 2 midseason premiere 2/12/12 -- 8.1 million total, 5.4 million* in 18-49, 4.4 million* in 25-54
3. Season 2 premiere 10/17/11 -- 7.3 million total, 4.8 million* in 18-49, 4.2 million* in 25-54
4. Season 2 midseason finale 11/27/11 -- 6.6 million total, 4.5 million in 18-49, 3.9 million in 25-54
5. Season 1 finale 12/5/10 -- 6 million total, 4 million in 18-49, 3.5 million in 25-54
6. Season 1 premiere 10/31/10 -- 5.4 million total viewers, 2.7 million in 18-49
* Record at the timehttp://www.hollywoodreporter.com/liv...ratings-301516