AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ Gets New Life

Two episodes into the premiere run, AMC has extended the lifespan of The Walking Dead, ordering a 13-episode second-season run.

Last night’s installment of The Walking Dead scared up 4.71 million viewers at 10 p.m., retaining 88 percent of its stellar premiere delivery (5.34 million viewers on Halloween night). Demos also hung tough, as the aptly-titled second episode, “Guts,” delivered 3.34 million viewers 18-49 and 2.8 million adults 25-54.

When compared to the season-opener, which unearthed 3.57 million viewers 18-49, the Nov. 7 show held onto 94 percent of the core demo. Adults 25-54 dipped 11 percent versus the previous week, as AMC averaged 2.8 million viewers.

All ratings reflect Nielsen’s live-plus-same-day data. Upon application of L-7 data, AMC could see those deliveries swell by as much as 50 percent. Any way you slice it, the series’ performance has far outstripped the network’s early expectations.

“The Dead has spread!” said AMC president Charlie Collier, by way of announcing the renewal. “No other cable series has ever attracted as many adults 18-49 as The Walking Dead. This reaffirms viewers’ hunger for premium television on basic cable.”

AMC originally ordered six episodes of The Walking Dead, which is based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman.  

“I wish all programming decisions were no-brainers like this one,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, svp, scripted programming, Fox International Channels. “We want at least 10 seasons, if not more.”

Since AMC first began investing in original series programming (2006), the network has boosted its ad sales revenue by 70 percent, to $280 million, per SNL Kagan data. Over the same five-year period, affiliate revenue has increased 23 percent to $282 million.

While The Dead shuffled its way to another impressive outing, the show didn’t nail down the biggest deliveries of the night. Reaching a wholly separate audience (or at least one would hope), the series premiere of Disney Channel’s Shake It Up averaged 6.2 million viewers at 8 p.m.