The Walking Dead returned on Sunday with 17 million viewers as its seventh season debuted on US cable, while international ratings on Fox broke records.
This was up on many analysts forecasts. On Monday, anecdotal evidence saw AMC’s share price rise 4%, followed by a 6% jump during this morning’s early hours trading after news of the ratings filtered through.
A cliffhanger featuring new villain Negan had drummed up a huge amount of social media buzz over the summer, with the AMC zombie drama topping our latest in-demand chart on Monday.
The reveal drew in 17 million eyeballs, which is just shy of the non-sports US cable broadcast ratings record of 17.3 million for the premiere of season five.
With Live+3 viewing included ratings are expected to touch 20 million, allaying fears, for now, about the show’s numbers, which slightly dipped last season.
Internationally, ratings were even stronger. Fox UK recorded 1.43 million viewers for the broadcast on Monday night. This is up 59% on the season six opener after its first 24 hours, and is on track to become the pay channel’s highest-rated show in its 14-year history.
Fox Networks Group has rights to the show in 125 territories around the world, and a spokesman said most of these were tracking towards records.
“Since its launch, this global phenomenon has continued to increase its audience year on year, however for last night’s episode to deliver the highest ratings of any series launch in the channel’s history is testament to The Walking Dead’s status as the number one TV show in the world,” said Jeff Ford, UK managing director, Fox Networks Group Europe & Africa.
The show has already been renewed for an eighth season.