The Walking Dead is back, and with it, viewers in the dollar demo. Broadcast watchers have stayed away in droves this season. But with the dead resurrected yet again, everyone who loves TV stayed home Sunday night to see what would happen to Rick and the gang during “No Sanctuary,” the huge premiere episode for the fifth season of the show. (It involved face-eating. Also fire.)
Oh yeah, and the ratings? An 8.7 in the demo with 17.3 million total viewers tuning in (in actual people, that 8.7 works out to 11 million 18- to 49-year-olds). The series was already the biggest show on TV; now it’s the biggest show on TV in a walk, with declines for Duck Dynasty. FX is also doing very well with American Horror Story, and of course HBO’s various projects, but the latter aren’t ad-supported. October’s crop of scary stuff is clearly resonating a lot more strongly with viewers than anything else on the dial.
We outlined earlier today how serious the problem with L+SD ratings was (just think of every prime-time ABC show as debuting down about two-tenths of a point). And it looks like we’re not the only ones concerned: With the first batch of C3s out today, analysts at MoffettNathanson reportedly put the third-quarter C3 ratings down 6 percent year-over-year.
By contrast, Walking Dead is up 6 percent year-over-year and has added 1.2 million viewers in the demo.
There is some good news for broadcast types today: Fox gave Gotham a full-season order, making it the network’s first show to earn that payoff during the season so far.