The Walking Dead returned for the second half of season three last night, and shattered yet another record. Every time The Walking Dead sets up a new ratings record, it smashes it down. The midseason finale on December 2nd (which, I might add, is a marketing construct that was created a few years ago to make the start of traditional holiday hiatus more like "event television") hit a new record for the show with 10.9 million viewers The AMC cable series drew in 12.3 million viewers in its debut airing, marking the show's highest ratings ever. More impressive, it was the second-highest rated show of the night, losing only to the Grammys (about 28.3 million viewers.) This is an impressive number for a broadcast series; it is virtually unheard of for a cable program.
Oh, and if you add in the encore screenings later that night (at 11pm and 2am) the ratings jump to 16.6 million viewers. With average viewership outranking the top-rated broadcast narrative shows like Modern Family and NCIS, it doesn't seem a far stretch that The Walking Dead could become television's highest-rated scripted program.