Walking Dead Finale Draws Record Numbers

AMC’s The Walking Dead saw its second season draw to a close yesterday night, but not without delivering its most shocking twist yet.  The season’s conclusion drew in a staggering 9 million viewers making it not only the series highest rated episode to date, but also AMC’s most watched episode of a series ever.  What’s even more impressive is that 2/3 of that audience, roughly 6 million viewers, are part of the coveted 18-49 adult demographic that advertisers love.  These numbers have solidified The Walking Dead as the top rated show in cable history among the coveted adult demographic.  In a day and age where there are hundreds of channels, dvr, dvd, and on demand, it is extremely rare for a cable network to garner these kinds of ratings.  With viewer segmentation higher than ever, the kind of numbers that The Walking Dead garnered yesterday night is considered a success for even broadcast networks, which typically see much higher numbers than cable.  As a fan of the series, I am particularly surprised that the show continues to grow in the ratings.  This season saw an extended episode order over its last outing (13 in season 2, 6 in season 1) and substantial budget cuts that definitely showed in terms of action, location, and even narrative.  The first season of the show saw the narrative driven more by the actions the characters took while this season saw its characters spending most of their time talking about how things used to be or should be, or spent wandering around aimlessly searching for people.  There was substantially less zombie interaction this season, but when there was it was glorious.  The departure of show creator Frank Darabont was also felt in the progression of character arcs, with some characters missing for episodes on end (T-Dawg was missing for a good 3-4 episodes) and the constant back and forth between Rick, Lori and Shane dragged out for longer than it should, forgivable mistakes that wouldn’t have been made had Darabont still been in charge.  AMC is really making a name for itself as a cable network, and creatively and critically is making a run to match HBO in terms of quality of programming.

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