Zombies aren't the only things getting their asses kicked by AMC's The Walking Dead as the hit post-apocalyptic thriller dominated all the other networks with last night's season 3 mid-season finale ratings.
The flagship series pulled in a total of 15.2 million viewers for the evening and became the first cable series to beat every other show of the fall broadcast season in the adult 18-49 demo.
To put into perspective how impressive the numbers are, The Walking Dead mid-season finale even bested the 13.5 million average viewers the series finale of ABC’s Lost earned in 2010. The Walking Dead also beat its own records by outdoing last year's mid-season finale by 58% and October's 10.9 million views for the season 3 premiere.
Sunday’s episode 'Made to Suffer' delivered the series' token gory drama in a game changing battle between the sword glass wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the increasingly creepy Governor (David Morrissey) - as well as the faithful reunion between the lovable redneck Dixon brothers, Merle and Darryl (Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus, respectively). As promised, fan favorite Tyreese (Chad Coleman) finally made his long overdue appearance, while added convict, Oscar (Vincent Ward) made his bloody exit.
Chad Coleman as the long-awaited Tyreese (A.K.A T-Dog 3.0)
AMC's President Charlie Collier took time to give kudos to the cast and crew of The Walking Dead and to brag about the record breaking ratings:
"Representing both the studio and the network as AMC does on this project, I speak for so many when I say 'thank you' and congratulations to everyone involved. The records that ‘The Walking Dead’ shattered today represent an enormous achievement of which we are so proud."
The Walking Dead post show The Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick, also took a boost this season to 2.2 million total viewers, upping from its 2.1 million total viewers. During Sunday's episode, Hardwick announced the chat-show would be moving up to immediately follow The Walking Dead at 11 and will be expanding from 30 minutes to an hour starting in February – moving Kevin Smith's Comic Book Men to Thursdays.
Although an official Walking Dead season 4 renewal has yet to be announced, with these kinds of ratings it's more a matter of when than if. AMC already let the renewal news slip in late September when they announced a new contest with the Red Cross that offers lucky blood donors a chance to win a trip to the set of The Walking Dead season 4.
As for the rest of season 3, not much is known at this time except that the show will return February 10th at its regular time, with 'The Suicide King'. With the addition of Tyreese, many fans are worried that the much- loved Darryl Dixon's head is the next on the chopping block – and with T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Shane (Jon Bernthal) both hitting bones road (both of whom took on Tyreese’s traits from the comic books also) it might not look so good…
The Walking Dead season 3 returns February 10th @ 9pm on AMC.