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'The Walking Dead' Mid-Season Finale Delivers 14.8 Million Viewers

Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) in The Walking Dead. Photo by Gene Page/AMC
AMC's The Walking Dead ended the first half of its fifth season last night with a mid-season finale that delivered 14.8 million viewers and 9.6 million adults 18-49, up 23% and 24%, respectively, over last season's corresponding episode. The first eight episodes to date versus The Walking Dead fall season of 2013 are up an average of 12% among all viewers and 13% among adults 18-49. The Walking Dead is the #1 show in all of television among adults 18-49, including the NFL, which had held top honors since 2007. In eight episodes so far this season, The Walking Dead has beaten Sunday Night Football five times in adults 18-49, live/same day, a winning percentage of .625 over pro football. The first eight episodes of The Walking Dead season five delivered an average of 14.6 million viewers and 9.5 million adults 18-49, outpacing everything else on television this season.

Also last night, the Talking Dead aftershow delivered the highest-rated mid-season finale in series history, with 6.6 million viewers and 4.2 million adults 18-49. Each week, Talking Dead features host Chris Hardwick and fans, actors, producers and other TV enthusiasts discussing that night's The Walking Dead premiere. The mid-season finale featured Robert Kirkman, Emily Kinney (Beth) and Keegan-Michael Key.

"The audience-driven success of The Walking Dead and 'Talking Dead' (even before time-shifting) is remarkable, and something we never take for granted," said Charlie Collier, AMC president. "We hold in such high regard Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple and all of our exceptional executive producers, cast and crew for their passionate efforts that led to television history for 'The Walking Dead' once again last night. Congratulations and 'non-creepy hugs' to Chris Hardwick and everyone associated with making 'Talking Dead' not only the #1 talk show on television, but one of the top 18-49 shows in all of television, period. Huge thanks to all of our great partners and, of course, to the fans who make it possible."

Key Nielsen Highlights for the Season Five Mid-Season Finale of The Walking Dead

· 9 p.m. airing - 7.5 HH national rating with 14.8 million viewers

· 9 p.m. airing - 7.6 national rating with 9.6 million Adults 18-49

· 9 p.m. airing - 7.5 national rating with 9.0 million Adults 25-54

Key Nielsen Highlights (live/same day averages) for the First Eight Episodes of The Walking Dead Season Five (versus season 4A)

· 9 p.m. airing - 7.2 HH national rating (+7%)

· 9 p.m. airing - 14.6 million viewers (+12%)

· 9 p.m. airing - 9.5 million adults 18-49 (+13%)

Key Nielsen Highlights for the Season Four Mid-Season Finale of Talking Dead

· 10 p.m. airing - 3.4 HH national rating with 6.6 million viewers

· 10 p.m. airing - 3.3 national rating with 4.2 million Adults 18-49

· 10 p.m. airing - 3.4 national rating with 4.1 million Adults 25-54

Key Nielsen Highlights (live/same day averages) for the First Eight Episodes of Talking Dead Season Four (versus season 3A)

· 10 pm airing - 2.9 HH national rating (+21%)

· 10 pm airing - 5.6 million viewers (+24%)

· 10 pm airing - 3.6 million adults 18-49 (+21%)

Source: Nielsen Media Research fast nationals (US ratings), L+SD.

The season five mid-season finale of The Walking Dead dominated social media activity the day of broadcast, ranking first among all scripted programs in organic conversation volume and ListenFirst Media's Digital Audience RatingTM. The mid-season finale telecast garnered nearly 1.1 million tweets and generated several trending hashtags for a significant period of time. A Twitter Q&A and live tweet with Norman Reedus helped drive this engagement with #AskNorman occupying the top trending topic leading into the Q&A and through the episode. Overall, engagement on Twitter increased threefold from last season's mid-season finale. On Facebook, the day of premiere saw more than six million engaged users, an increase of 72% from last season's mid-season finale.

The Walking Dead will return for the second half of its fifth season at 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 8.

* AMC Rings in New Year with 'Breaking Bad' and 'The Walking Dead' Marathons


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