In case it wasn’t already abundantly clear from the fact that it got a Season 6 renewal before its current season even started, The Walking Dead Season 5 premiere ratings prove that the AMC drama series isn’t going anywhere soon. Last night’s episode (read Dave’s recap here) drew a series high 17.3 million viewers, besting its previous record of 16.1 million viewers for the Season 4 premiere by over 1 million viewers. Moreover, in the all-important 18-49 demo, the episode notched an 8.8 rating. By comparison, that’s nearly double the highest rating for any entertainment programming last week, as The Big Bang Theory scored a 4.5 rating in the demo on CBS.
Even if you’re not a fan of The Walking Dead (and I’m really not), you have to admit that these numbers are insane. In an age where more and more people are consuming television from a variety of different platforms on a delayed schedule, the fact that a basic cable show can pull in these kinds of numbers is staggering. Watch a sneak peek for next week’s episode after the jump.