Skiers, skaters and Beatles may have been giving it their all, but in the end, the competition for sunday night ratings was won by zombies. The Walking Dead season 4 returned from hiatus and once again proved to be TV's big genre juggernaut, scoring 15.8 million viewers overall for its primetime slot. Its companion show, Talking Dead also hit a series high, with a 5.9 million viewer draw.
However, the biggest news was AMC's zombie series scoring 10.4 million in the 18-49 adult demographic - beating out the 2014 Winter Olympics AND the The Beatles: The Night That Changed America, A Grammy Salute, which drew in 6.9 million and 2.1 million in the 18-49 demo, respectively.
Sure, both the Olympics and The Beatles special drew in better overall viewerships (25.4 million and 14 million, respectively) - but of course both of those were massive "event" broadcasts on network channels. And yet AMC, a cable station airing a comic book horror drama, is what netted advertisers' most coveted demographic for primetime broadcasts. Not too shabby - even if the 18 - 49 spread can be used to pad numbers that traditionally counted from a 18 - 35 demo spread.
As for mid-season 4 premiere itself? We thought the more stripped-down and intimate character focus was a(nother) step in the right direction for the season; but if feel free to hop on over to our episode review to leave your own opinion in the comment thread.
Right now, AMC is sitting on top of a success story - one of few remaining ones, now that Breaking Bad is gone and Mad Men will soon follow it out the door (taking a lot of AMC's money along with it). The Walking Dead brand is certainly stronger than ever, with the comics, TV series, video games and other merchandise/media connecting with the public. With the announcement of a spinoff TV series being launched in 2015, it seems that AMC is rapidly creating even more avenues to keep this property at the forefront of pop-culture, while also tearing up the ratings chart on a yearly cycle.
With numbers like these, the chances of that happening look good.
The Walking Dead airs @9pm on Sundays on AMC.