AceShowbiz - "The Walking Dead" proved itself as AMC's juggernaut on Sunday, October 12 when its season 5 premiere posted a new record ratings. First episode of the season, "No Sanctuary", hit new heights with 17.3 million same day viewers, the highest ratings ever on the show's history and on cable television history.
The number also crunched top season 4 premiere which drew series-best at 16.1 million. The previous record of a highest-rates non-sports telecast in cable history was the airing of "High School Musical 2" in 2007 which took in 17.2 million viewers.
Even more impressive, "No Sanctuary" also pulled in 11 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic, making it the most watched show in the age group. Its follow-up show, "The Talking Dead" also broke record by taking in 6.9 million viewers and 4.5 in the 18-49 demo.
"It's a Dead man's party. Who could ask for more?" Charlie Collier, AMC president, said in a statement. "Enormous thanks to our friends and executive producers Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero- who also directed last night's terrific premiere - Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert and Tom Luse and all of their fellow producers, cast and crew for everything they do to make the #1 show on television such a unique and incredible experience for the fans."
He continued, "The Walking Dead is one of those increasingly rare shows today that can command a live audience not significantly cannibalized by time-shifted viewing. Who would have thought that cannibalized television could be curtailed by cannibal-ized television?"
With the record-high comes piracy-high. AMC had tried to minimize the damage by distributing it around the world within 24 hours of its U.S. debut but to no avail. Piracy tracking firm Excipio reported that the episode was downloaded by approximately 1.27 million unique IP addresses worldwide in the first 24 hours since it hit the screen. The past two season premieres were downloaded 178,000 and 296,0000 times respectively.
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays, 9 P.M. on AMC.