As has become the day-after standard for its every reappearance, The Walking Dead returned from its third-season hiatus to break the ratings records it broke the last time it went away for a little while, scoring a series-high of 12.3 million total viewers (16.6 million if you factor in encore showings). That’s up from the previously record-breaking 10.9 million who tuned in to October’s premiere, eager to see the zombie apocalypse survivors finally leave the farm and find some newer, more exciting place to shut themselves up in. The much higher stakes of last night’s episode—what with fans dying to see baby Judith beginning to lift her own head and respond to sounds, and also that whole war with The Governor thing—brought in an even larger audience, even against the comparatively less-exciting zombie that is the music industry lumbering through another Grammys. At this point, with its 7.7 million average among adults 18 to 49, The Walking Dead is actually doing better numbers in that demo than any of its competitors—including top broadcast shows like The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and NCIS, which is totally unprecedented. No doubt AMC celebrated the news by binge-hiring-and-firing three new showrunners.
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