What the Other Networks Don’t Want You to Know About AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’

Dec 5, 2013  •  Post A Comment

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is a huge hit, with a midseason finale that pulled in 12.1 million total viewers, but there’s also a ratings secret about the show that broadcasters and rival cable networks would prefer to keep under wraps, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker.

That’s how the show “has evidently discovered some kind of anti-aging miracle potion that allows it to defy typical TV ratings trends,” the story reports.

“The Walking Dead” is not only the highest-rated series in the history of cable television, but it would also rank as the top TV show in the 18 to 49 demo if it aired on broadcast TV, outside of "Sunday Night Football," the piece notes. But what’s really unusual is that the show’s audience isn’t getting older, even though the zombie drama is in its fourth season.

The article reports: “Typically, shows that become hits attract their youngest viewers during the first few seasons. Then, as that audience ages a bit and viewers a few years younger seek out newer fare, the average age begins an inevitable climb toward the upper reaches of the demo.”

The median age of viewers of "The Walking Dead" is 33.2, slightly younger than the average age (33.8) during its first season.

“By TV standards, that’s very young indeed — and exactly the hard-to-get audience everyone wants. Remember, we are in a world where ABC, CBS and NBC are struggling just to keep people in their 40s from fleeing,” the article reports. “[I]t’s a safe bet broadcast executives wouldn’t mind if you forgot these stats.”

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  1. These data buttress previous conclusions that there is absolutely no way to account for the unbelievably bad taste of the American TV-viewing public.

  2. It also shows how senseless ratings are. The simple fact of reality is that the population as a whole is getting older, not younger. And yet…. the networks still persist in pursuing the younger demographics. In other words, the audiences that are getting smaller and smaller.
    The Walking Dead is an outlier… a combination of horror, action, and soap opera in a genre-bender, video thrill pill.

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