Walking Dead Gets Record 16.1 Million Viewers

The zombie show becomes the most watched cable show ever despite facing off against Sunday night football

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Frank Ockenfels 3 / AMC

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - 'The Walking Dead' - Season 4

Forget Breaking Bad. The Walking Dead is AMC’s — and all of cable TV’s — big winner.

The most popular cable series of all time opened its fourth season on Sunday to a record 16.1 million viewers, more than 5 million more than last year’s premiere. No cable show has ever drawn such a large audience. (For comparison: Breaking Bad had an average audience of 10.28 million viewers per episode.)

Walking Dead earned an 8.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic. That makes it the top-rated entertainment series telecast this season, beating out CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. The premiere will likely earn even more viewers through streaming services and DVR.

And Walking Dead achieved those ratings despite airing during Sunday Night Football, which presumably would steal much of the zombie show’s key demographic.

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