Sunday's premiere of Fear The Walking Dead, the companion series to AMC's The Walking Dead, was the most-watched premiere for a cable show ever. According to Nielsen, 10.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the show's initial 9 p.m. EST airing, smashing the previous record set by Raising the Bar, a TNT series whose 2008 premiere drew in 7.7 million people.
AMC's not just patting itself on the back because of the number of people it managed to bring back into the world based on Robert Kirkman's post-apocalyptic graphic novels, but because of what kind of people that tuned in.
6.3 million of Fear The Walking Dead's 10.1 million audience were adults ranging in age from 18-49, the most coveted demographic for TV ratings. The numbers were made all the more impressive by the fact that the large audience actually sat down at watched the show live in addition to those people that may have viewed it time-shifted, or simply pirated it.
“It is increasingly difficult to evaluate a show’s success on night one," AMC president Charlie Collier said in a public statement. "To have a companion series to the #1 show on television driving communal, urgent viewing, social activity and pop cultural relevance of this magnitude is truly differentiating."
When the original Walking Dead series premiered back in 2010, it pulled in a respectable 5.4 million people, and its viewership has consistently grown for the past five years.
Unlike the original series, which takes place in the south at an undetermined time after the initial outbreak, Fear follows a group of people living in Los Angeles as the first zombies begin to spread on the West Coast. The six-episode limited series is a late summer ramp up to The Walking Dead's sixth season scheduled to premiere October 11.