April 1, 2013


The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are proving that watching TV live is still something viewers want to do.  Though DV-Rs, OnDemand and online viewing have seemingly reduced traditional ratings by allowing access long after the live event, there’s still something to be said for tuning in to the zeitgeist and wanting to experience what everyone else is.  It was a big night for TV, with two of the most popular shows had important episodes: AMC’s The Walking Dead wrapped up its third season while HBO’s Game of Thrones had a much anticipated premiere.  It looks like more people chose zombies over Westeros this week, but hit the jump for the numbers breakdown and what it all means.

walking-dead-danai-gurira-andrew-lincolnThe Walking Dead reportedly pulled 12.4 million viewers last night, 8.1 million of whom where in the coveted 18-49 demographic.  For comparison, the Season Two finale pulled in about 9 million total viewers, and 10.2 million for its midseason finale in December.  This number breaks the record for its Season Three midseason premiere, which clocked in at around 12.3 million.

The cable series beat out everyone so far this season, even the big heavyweight network hits like American Idol, The Voice and Modern Family.

Game of Thrones returned with 4.4 million viewers, also a record breaking number, and up 13% from the 3.9 who tuned in to the Season Two premiere last year.  However, HBO estimates that over the two subsequent reruns (the show initially premiered at the same time as The Walking Dead, and since that finale was a bigger event, presumably some of the cross-over audience chose to watch a later showing of Game of Thrones), the numbers added up to something more like 6.7 million viewers, up 74% from its initial premiere in April of 2011 (these numbers do not factor in OnDemand, HBO GO or DV-R viewings … or pirated material, which Game of Thrones is known for, as the most-pirated series of 2012).

What does this all mean?  Sometimes viewers do actually show up for great TV, that we do enjoy watching things live, and that cable and premium channels are setting the bar for exceptional programming, with the numbers to back it up.


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  • junierizzle

    I can’t believe The Walking Dud draws so many viewers.

    • HeSaidSheSaidMv

      Completely agreed. It’s not very good.

      • Dan

        Said nobody ever

  • Gen

    I don’t get it either. I tried watching the first season of Walking Dead and i just don’t understand what’s all the fuss about. Why the hell is it so popular? it sucks!

    • LOL

      Maybe it’s for people who use more intelligent words than “sucks”? Just a thought.

    • daveyboy

      Because the first season isn’t all that good, and the first half of the second season is way worse, downright bad, actually. If you stick with it though the show really starts to pick up later in season 2 and then season 3 is simply amazing television. But if you really want a much better version of the show, I know it’s cliche, but read the book. The book is always better and The Walking Dead is a good example.

  • Noland

    I agree, I gave The Walking Dead a go round to see what the fuss was about, in my view, one of the most boring shows ever.

  • /tv/

    The Walking Dead is for common people who don’t like things too complicated. They like their drama dumbed down.

    • chrissy

      If you don’t like/watch the show, how would you know what it was like? Unless…you do watch it! *gasp* lol but anyway I don’t talk down something I haven’t seen a good enough portion of…well I wouldn’t ever talk like that but that’s just because I’m a good person :/

  • AC

    “I like to comment about why I don’t like a show on articles about that show. Even though I don’t like that show, I think I will go to the article anyway. I am an idiot.”

    • junierizzle

      It’s an article on Ratings. Questioning TWD is fair game wether you like it or don’t, but nice try.

  • RickyTockTaffy

    You are in the minority of people who watch television and claim that you don’t like The Walking Dead simply because “the show sucks.” I have no problem if you think that, but I’m interested in what you think is a good show? The fact that you are questioning why people like it does not mean that the show sucks, but just that you don’t see what the draw is. And are you claiming that the 12 million + viewers of The Walking Dead don’t know what good television is? And that you know better than them? At least give me reasons for why I should agree with you instead of being so damn antagonizing.

  • GunsOfNavarone

    The issue with TWD is it’s consistency and before the haters start blasting off on me, I have watched the entire thing from start to finish. Season 1 was good, Season 2 up until about episode 6 was good, then strayed off into boredom territory where the search for a missing girl became utterly tedious, then returned to form for the final few episodes. Season 3 has been great apart from a couple of filler episodes and it has to be said, a complete disappointment of a finale. So, when it’s good it’s good, when plots and story arcs are stretched out paper thin, it’s bad. I hope they aren’t still holed up in the prison for an entire season, I hoped they’d learned from their lessons with the farm. I also hope they’re not trying to stretch stories so that they can release more seasons.

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