This was posted by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog on Friday, October 28, 2016
The heart-wrenching, grotesque season 7 debut of "The Walking Dead" drew 20.8 million viewers once DVR usage up to three days after original airing are included.
That's up seven percent from the season 6 debut and the second biggest audience ever for the show, behind only the season five debut.
Another 2.5 million have watched the show online through digital platforms to date.
Of the 20.8 million, 13.2 million were in the coveted 18-49 demographic advertisers still crave, equal to a 10.3 rating. That's by far the largest 18-49 audience of any program this fall so far, even NFL football games.
The opener is now also the top Tweeted show of the year.
"Talking Dead," the post-"Walking Dead" aftershow, drew 8.7 million viewers, up 35 percent from a year earlier. That's the second best total for that show ever.
"When millions of fans come together at almost exactly the same time to share a story – a story elevated, that viewers anticipate and have time to let sink in and discuss, moments we collectively feel – it’s as good as television gets and a reminder of the power of weekly storytelling,” said Charlie Collier, president of AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. “This week, ‘The Walking Dead’ once again provided that for all of us. Rest in peace, Glenn and Abraham. You will never be forgotten.”
Given how much of a violent gorefest Sunday's episode was, it will be interesting to see if folks who say they are quitting the show forever will follow through. The second episode of "The Walking Dead" typically loses a couple of million viewers in past seasons. And this Sunday's episode will focus on Morgan and Carol, giving us a reprieve from the hell Rick and his group are going through.