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October 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Signaling cable television’s increasing robustness in its competition with broadcast TV, the third season of AMC’s The Walking Dead drew 10.9 million viewers Sunday night — a record for a basic-cable dramatic series. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact that 7.3 million — or 67 percent — of the audience was in the key 18-49 age group. The series was already the most-watched drama on basic cable, capturing more than 9 million viewers for the second-season finale last March. Ratings analysts also observed that the record was set despite the fact that AMC is not available to DISH satellite users because of a carriage dispute. DISH contends that, except for Sunday night, AMC draws relatively few viewers and that its demand for a fee hike cannot be justified. But there is no denying the impressive figures posted for Sunday night’s Dead. When the viewers for the 10:00 p.m. and midnight repeats are included, the total audience for the episode soars to 15.2 million. The only broadcast dramas that can boast similar figures are the two NCIS series on CBS. And one other notable fact: Sunday night’s telecast of The Walking Dead had to compete against broadcast television’s highest rated program, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which averaged 17.13 million viewers.