After nearly a year of fan anticipation and anxiety about some drastic behind-the-scenes shakeups, The Walking Dead returned to the airwaves last night with a 90-minute season 2 premiere event.

Fans are still dropping their love/hate opinions in our Walking Dead season 2 premiere review; however, while the debate rages on about whether the season opener for AMC’s horror/drama was dynamite or just a dud, one thing is certain: from a ratings standpoint, The Walking Dead is an overwhelming success.

AMC certainly has a lot to celebrate this morning: the season 2 premiere of Walking Dead snagged 7.3 million viewers, with an estimated 11 million viewers if you count the encore presentation. No telling what the number will be if/when more DVR recordings are factored in. Those numbers – which are virtually unheard of for a basic cable TV series – are a nearly 40% boost on the Season 1 premiere ratings from Halloween of last year, and a slight increase on the 6 million viewers who tuned in for the season 1 finale.

Even more impressive: The Walking Dead premiere scored 4.8 million viewers among the coveted 18-49 adult demographic, making it the new basic cable ratings record-holder for that demographic. Given the amount of ads that ran during the 90-minute premiere (about 30 mins worth) this has got to be good news for AMC, as that ad revenue will land right in the network’s pocket (Walking Dead is the only show they produce totally in-house).

"If only WE could get that many viewers..."

Of course, as much of a fan as I am (and, apparently, a lot of you are) of The Walking Dead, it is somewhat vexing that other – arguably superior – AMC shows like Breaking Bad don’t get this much ratings love, which would inevitably save it from a lot of the current budgetary issues AMC is facing. Still, you have to pick your battles, and having The Walking Dead produce these kinds of ratings goes a long way to ensuring that at least this program will stay on the air a bit longer.

But will viewers stick by the show all season – especially after the half-way point, when the presence of fired showrunner Frank Darabont is no longer felt? Just one of the many questions Rick Grimes and Co. are facing in their sophomore season.

You can catch The Walking Dead Sundays @ 9/8c on AMC

Source: EW

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