'Walking Dead,' alive with ratings and spin

GIVEN NEW LIFE: The zombie series "The Walking Dead" is being picked up for another season.
GIVEN NEW LIFE: The zombie series "The Walking Dead" is being picked up for another season. (Amc Via Associated Press)
By Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

AMC announced Monday it had picked up a second season of its zombie series "The Walking Dead" after 4.7 million of the 5.3 million who watched the premiere two Sundays ago stuck around to watch the unveiling of the second episode Sunday night.

AMC went one step further and claimed the series had broken TV records when it reached more 18- to 49-year-olds "than any other show in the history of cable television" (3.6 million of them two Sundays ago and 3.3 million Sunday at 10 p.m.).

Except "The Sopranos" was known to clock an average of between 6 and 9 million 18- to 49-year-olds in its heyday. And "Sex and the City" episodes averaged more than 4 million viewers in that age bracket -- one episode even exceeded 7 million.

More recently, "The Osbournes" at its best attracted about 5 million in that demographic. "Jersey Shore" is scoring an average of 4 million people of that age. We could go on and on. And don't even get us started on "Monday Night Football" since it moved to ESPN. Had AMC added some qualifiers to its claim, it might have been on to something -- something accurate.

But they were too dizzy from spinning madly:

"The 'Dead' has spread!" AMC President Charlie Collier simpered modestly in Monday's announcement. He's the guy who announced it was "a good day to be dead" after the show's premiere one week earlier.

" 'The Walking Dead' is a TV masterpiece on so many levels," chimed in Sharon Tal Yguado, senior VP at Fox International Channels, which debuted the show internationally.

An AMC rep, contacted Monday with questions about the network's ratings claim, said that if we wrote that it was the biggest first-season debut for an original scripted series among adult 18 to 49, that "is correct." Notice all the qualifiers not in the network's second-season pickup announcement, which was issued to the world. Asked if AMC execs were going to issue a corrected release, the rep said they would not until they know for sure whether they need to add the "scripted series" qualifier to the ratings claim.

Meanwhile, we'd like to put "The Walking Dead's" ratings accomplishment -- the actual accomplishment -- in some larger perspective:

"The Walking Dead's" average among 18- to 49-year-olds, two weeks into its season, puts it nearly on par with CBS's own "Walking Dead" series -- "60 Minutes," which is averaging 3.512 million people in that age bracket so far this season.

Bristol on 'Ellen'

"Dancing With the Stars" survivor Bristol Palin visited Ellen DeGeneres's syndicated talk show Monday.

Ellen noted that she first met Bristol when Ellen was a judge on "American Idol" and Bristol visited the show. These Palins are really warming up to Hollywood!

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company