The March 19 outing titled 'Beside the Dying Fire' is the highest-rated episode ever for the AMC apocalyptic show with 9 million total viewers tuning it.
"The Walking Dead" continues breaking its own record. The show's season 2 finale lured in 9 million total viewers with 6 million of them among adults 18 to 49, topping its record-breaking midseason premiere in February.
When returning from a hiatus earlier this year, the show drew big ratings with 8.1 million total viewers and 5.4 million in 18-49. Prior to that, the season 2 premiere posted a record-breaking episode with 7.3 million total audience and 4.8 million in the 18-49 demo.
Commenting on the show's performance, comic creator/executive producer Robert Kirkman gushed, "They're pretty insane! People obviously really enjoy the show. This is definitely a labor of love from everybody. It's a passion project, and it seems to show through in the work and that's trickling down to the viewers and making it a popular thing."
The season ender titled "Beside the Dying Fire" marked the debut appearance of sword-wielding heroine Michone, who will be portrayed by Danai Gurira in season 3. Kirkman recently said that the "Treme" actress landed the role because she "really portrayed the power and strength that we need Michonne to exhibit."
The new season will additionally introduce The Governor as a villain with David Morrissey tackling the part. On how the character will be presented on the AMC series, showrunner Glen Mazzara hinted, "He may not be as readily apparent as what's in the comic book. We will certainly put our spin on that."
Original cast members Jeffrey DeMunn and Jon Bernthal will not return in season 3 since their characters, Dale and Shane respectively, were killed off in the episodes leading to the season closer. Beside these two, another major character was considered to be written out as well as Kirkman revealed, "Hershel was originally going to be murdered by Randall in episode 12."
"So we were going to lose Hershel, Randall, and Shane all in one episode, which I felt was really cool," he continued sharing. "But at the end of the day we had so much story to tell with Hershel, and he had such a central role in the ensemble, and Scott Wilson is such a phenomenal actor that we felt like it was overkill. So [he] got a reprieve."