AMC roared into 2016 with five original premieres in two nights, including the return of The Walking Dead, attracting more than 20 million viewers in three days on linear and digital platforms. With 12.1 million adults 18-49 in linear live+3 ratings and more than 1 million more 18-49 digital viewers within three days, The Walking Dead mid-season premiere is by far the highest-rated entertainment show this year among adults 18-49, excluding sports and specials. Talking Dead returned after The Walking Dead with its highest-rated episode this season, delivering 7.5 million total viewers and 4.6 million adults 18-49. The episode featured host Chris Hardwick and guests Greg Nicotero (series executive producer, special effects makeup supervisor and episode director), country star Carrie Underwood and cast member Benedict Samuel, who played one of the Wolves.
Airing at midnight, after The Walking Dead and Talking Dead, Comic Book Men returned with - once again - remarkable performance for its time slot and one of the higher concentrations of 18-49 viewers of any show on television. The episode delivered 1.3 million viewers, 65 percent of whom were in the 18-49 demo - 865,000 18-49 viewers in all, live+3. The audience for the second season premiere of Better Call Saul grew 83 percent in total viewers and 98 percent in adults 18-49 in three days, for a total live+3 audience of 4.7 million viewers and 2.7 million adults 18-49. The critically acclaimed series returned for its second season airing against the Grammy Awards and without The Walking Dead as a lead-in. The second episode of Better Call Saul airs tonight at 10 p.m. on AMC. Finally, a special episode of the Talking Saul after-show delivered 943,000 viewers in live+3 ratings, including 521,000 adults 18-49. AMC will also air Talking Saul following the Better Call Saul season finale on April 18. Here's what AMC's Charlie Collier had to say in a statement.
"What a terrific start to the year for these iconic AMC series, and what a pleasure to share our biggest weekend of originals ever with such passionate and engaged fans. We are proud to be working with all the remarkable creative talent driving these shows. Five premieres over one holiday weekend: Together, we walked, we talked, we called and now we can't wait to explore what's next for these unforgettable characters and unique worlds."
The Mid-Season Premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, February 14 attracted 19.1 million viewers, up 39% from live/same day (growth of 5.3 million), 12.1 million Adults 18-49, up 41% from live/same day (growth of 3.6 million) and 12.1 million Adults 25-54, up 42% from live/same day (growth of 3.6 million). Within three days of the episode airing, there were also 1.125 million digital plays (more than 1 million adults 18-49). Talking Dead lured in 7.5 million viewers, up 17% from live/same day (growth of 1.1 million), 4.6 million Adults 18-49, up 17% from live/same day (growth of 675k) and 4.8 million Adults 25-54, up 18% from live/same day (growth of 725k) in its highest-rated episode this season.
The Mid-Season Premiere of Comic Book Men attracted 1.3 million viewers, up 20% from live/same day (growth of 226k), 865k Adults 18-49, up 20% from live/same day (growth of 142k) and 841k Adults 25-54, up 21% from live/same day (growth of 144k). The Better Call Saul Season 2 Premiere brought in 4.7 million viewers, up 83% from live/same day (growth of 2.1 million), 2.7 million Adults 18-49, up 98% from live/same day (growth of 1.3 million) and 2.9 million Adults 25-54, up 99% from live/same day (growth of 1.4 million). The Talking Saul after show attracted 943K viewers, up 27% from live/same day (growth of 199K), 521K Adults 18-49, up 28% from live/same day (growth of 113K) and 563K Adults 25-54, up 34% from live/same day (growth of 144K).
The return of The Walking Dead also became a major event in social media, despite competition from the NBA All-Star Game and other buzz-generating events. #TheWalkingDead was a top hashtag trend during both East and West Coast broadcasts on 2/14, conversation around the show topped 1.5 million tweets from nearly 925,000 users for an estimated 4.1 billion total Twitter impressions. The #IHeartTWD Valentine's Day campaign, which rewarded fans using the hashtag with a special visual return message, garnered an estimated 620 million impressions. "The Walking Dead" and "Talking Dead" also trended on Facebook the day of the premieres with nearly 44 million impressions, and "The Walking Dead" was a top trend on Instagram. The Better Call Saul season two premiere trended on Twitter during primetime on 2/15, garnering 57,600 mentions on Twitter by more than 40,000 users for an estimated 403 million impressions and more than 22 million impressions on Facebook and nearly 3.4 million Facebook video views.