‘Dead’ rise past ‘Sunday Night Football’
The addition of the World Series to the Sunday night mix had a beneficial side effect for “The Walking Dead.”
With the baseball game drawing away many viewers from NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” “Dead” became the No. 1 show on Sunday night in adults 18-49, a first.
The show averaged a 6.8 adults 18-49 rating, according to Nielsen overnights, down slightly from last week’s 7.1.
But that was enough to outdistance “SNF,” the first time “Dead” has ever topped its Sunday night rival.
The NBC sports show averaged a 5.6 in the demo in primetime. That will undoubtedly rise a half point or so when final numbers are released later today, as overnights do not include post-primetime viewership and do not account for time zone differences.
Even so, it’s doubtful the game will rise enough to overtake “Dead.”
It’s yet another milestone for the cable drama, which has shattered a number of records in its fourth season.
The program premiered as the most-watched entertainment series in cable history two weeks ago in both total viewers and 18-49s.
With three-day DVR viewership, the total viewers for its season debut increased to more than 20 million, making it the most-watched cable entertainment program in history, surpassing Disney Channel’s “High School Musical 2.”
The World Series appeared to give “Dead” an assist in the milestone. Game 4 drew a 4.4 rating in the demo during primetime, according to overnights, up 10 percent over last year.
Some sports fans undoubtedly tuned out of “SNF” and into the World Series. “SNF” slid 41 percent from last week, though a bit of that can certainly be attributed to a lackluster matchup, with the 1-6 Minnesota Vikings facing the 5-2 Green Bay Packers.
“Dead” came within 0.2 of “SNF” in its premiere two weeks ago, when the drama averaged an 8.2 rating.
“SNF” did appear to keep its edge in total viewers, averaging 14.9 million in primetime. “Dead” posted 12.9 million.