It garnered 16.1 million viewers on Sunday, the biggest ever audience for the zombie drama. AMC said that factoring in time shifted seven day viewing the show will comfortably hit the 20 million viewer mark.
The show has redefined cable ratings and is the biggest show across pay and free TV, regularly delivering over ten million viewers. The opening of the last season broke ratings records when it delivered 12.3 million viewers and the previous record for a single episode of was 12.4 million total viewers and 8.1 million viewers 18-to-49s for the season three finale.
The season four opener has, however, reset the bar. Of the 16.1 million viewers that tuned in to cable net AMC to see the show, 10.4 million were in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic. There were 8.8 million viewers in the 25-to-54 demo.
Spin-off talkshow The Talking Dead was on AMC directly after The Walking Dead and won 5.1 million viewers, 3.3 million of which were in the 18-to-49 and 3 million in the 25-to-54 demo.
AMC president Charlie Collier paid tribute to the cast and crew: “It starts with series creator, writer and executive producer Robert Kirkman, showrunner and executive producer Scott Gimple and the director of last night’s episode (and the man behind the make-up) executive producer Greg Nicotero, their fellow executive producers and an extraordinary cast and crew who are giving their all every day. So clearly, thanks to them, the dead have never been more alive.”