Everyone had an inkling that Fear the Walking Dead would likely score a huge viewership based on the gigantic numbers The Walking Dead has been posting for years. This feral freight train already had a built-in audience on a cable TV channel that’s known to house some of the highest rated TV programs of all-time. So, just how big was the pilot episode of FTWD? Well, it’s a record: 10.1 million viewers tuned in to see a new chapter in the zombie apocalypse that Robert Kirkman created with his hit comic book series.
The 90-minute series premiere of FTWD not only scored the biggest audience of all-time for a series opener, but it scored No. 1 in every key demographic including the coveted 18-49 adults area. AMC now boasts itself as the home to three of the five top cable TV series premieres of all-time in the 18-49 adults demo, with FTWD at No. 1, Better Call Saul at No. 2, and The Walking Dead at No. 5. This is a huge accomplishment for the cable channel, and Charlie Collier — president of AMC — issued a press release touting the success of the premiere:
“Thank you and congratulations to Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson, the brilliant executive producers and the entire cast and crew of ‘Fear the Walking Dead.’ It is increasingly difficult to evaluate a show’s success on night one. However, we are releasing these live/same day ratings because ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ delivered record-breaking numbers that are all the more special in this era of time-shifted viewing and audience fragmentation.”
As the statement says, it’s even more impressive that AMC was able to pull in this many viewers in the DVR era, but the urgency of watching the show on its premiere night must have resonated with audiences. Nobody likes being stuck next to the water cooler on Monday morning with nothing to chat about.