The Walking Dead spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead launched last night with a special 90 min premiere - and smashed cable TV records to become the most-watched series premiere ever as over 10 million fans tuned in!
This morning, AMC announced that the show gained 10.1 million live/same day views, including 6.3 million adults aged 18-49 (a vitally important demographic).
Charlie Collier, AMC president, congratulated the show on this absolutely incredible premiere, also thanking the devoted fans of The Walking Dead for making these numbers possible.
"Thank you and congratulations to Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson, the brilliant executive producers and the entire cast and crew of ‘Fear the Walking Dead. It is increasingly difficult to evaluate a show’s success on night one. However, we are releasing these live/same day ratings because ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ delivered record-breaking numbers that are all the more special in this era of time-shifted viewing and audience fragmentation. To have a companion series to the #1 show on television driving communal, urgent viewing, social activity and pop cultural relevance of this magnitude is truly differentiating. Of course none of it is possible without the fans, whose passion leads to these remarkable results."
Clearly, this bodes very well for the new series, set before the events of The Walking Dead, as the population of LA struggles to cope with the dawn of the zombie apocalypse. Only six episodes long (and already renewed), this first season promises to show fans how it all began, and will no doubt provide the usual heart-pounding action scenes along with an incredible new cast of characters.
There was never much doubt that Fear The Walking Dead would be successful, given the astounding popularity of The Walking Dead, which holds the number five spot for most viewed cable premieres, and which managed 17.3 million viewers at the start of Season 5 (as reported by Variety).
Interestingly, Fear The Walking Dead's record-setting premiere stole the top spot from another spin-off, Better Call Saul (another AMC show), which focuses on the character of Saul Goodman, the lawyer from Breaking Bad. Unsurprisingly, a strong existing fan base is key to gaining big numbers for a new series.
It's clear that the incredible popularity of The Walking Dead shows no signs of waning, and with Season 6 airing on October 11th, just two weeks after Fear The Walking Dead comes to a close, there's little doubt in my mind that this will be yet another record-setting season premiere.
Fear The Walking Dead is on Sundays, 9pm, on AMC.