When "The Walking Dead" closed its third season, it set yet another ratings record for AMC, drawing in 12.4 million total viewers and 8.1 in the coveted 18-49 demographic. With last night's season four premiere, the zombie juggernaut crushed its previous best, pulling in 16.1 million viewers, 10.4 million of which were 18-49.
Those numbers aren't just great for the cable network -- they're the highest numbers for any show on television right now, including the networks. And if that weren't enough good news for the show's cast and crew, once time-shifted viewers are added to the mix in a few days, the final numbers could end up north of 20 million.
"Sincere thanks to the fans, who have welcomed 'The Walking Dead' back for its fourth season with the highest-rated episode in the show's history," said AMC President Charlie Collier via press release. "We could not be more proud of this show and everyone on both sides of the camera who work so hard to give life to this story of character, leadership and survival. It starts with series creator, writer and executive producer Robert Kirkman, show runner and executive producer Scott Gimple and the director of last night's episode (and the man behind the make-up) executive producer Greg Nicotero, their fellow executive producers and an extraordinary cast and crew who are giving their all every day. So clearly, thanks to them, the dead have never been more alive."
The second episode of season four, title "Infected," airs Sunday, October 20 at 9PM on AMC.