Ratings: Walking Dead Returns With a Record-Smashing 16.1 Million Viewers

Walking Dead RatingsThe Walking Dead‘s Season 4 premiere had a record-high body count.

Sunday’s kickoff attracted a mind-blowing 16.1 million viewers — 10.4 million of which fell in the 18-49 demo, AMC confirmed Monday.

That easily eclipses the show’s previous high of 12.4 million viewers (8.1 in 18-49) for last spring’s Season 3 finale.

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The show’s boffo debut — which outranked everything on broadcast and cable last night (save for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which had a higher total viewer tally) — lifted The Talking Dead to its best numbers as well. The Chris Hardwick-hosted hour drew 5.1 million viewers, including 3.3 million 18-49ers.

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“Sincere thanks to the fans, who have welcomed The Walking Dead back for its fourth season with the highest-rated episode in the show’s history,” said AMC President Charlie Collier in a statement. “We could not be more proud of this show and everyone on both sides of the camera who work so hard to give life to this story of character, leadership and survival.”