"The Walking Dead" posted record ratings for AMC with its Season 3 midseason premiere.
The zombie drama attracted 12.3 million viewers in its initial 9 p.m. broadcast, making it the most-watched episode in series history. Previously, "The Walking Dead's" highest-rated episode was its Season 3 fall premiere, which notched 10.9 million viewers.
The midseason premiere garnered 7.7 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic, the highest key-demo viewership totals for any telecast in basic cable history, according to AMC. Including later encore replays, it a total of 16.6 million people tuned in to see "The Walking Dead" return.
The numbers were even more impressive considering "The Walking Dead" was going up against the 2013 Grammy Awards, which had 28.4 million people tuning in on CBS.
"When you look at numbers like this, the first thing that comes to mind is how grateful we are to the fans of this show. They embrace 'The Walking Dead' in a way that we wanted to believe was possible but we never take for granted. The cast and crew put everything they have into making this show. They’re a phenomenally talented group who truly give their all. We congratulate everyone involved,” Charlie Collier, AMC's President, said in a statement.
"The Walking Dead" remains a cable ratings juggernaut despite some behind-the-scenes drama. The show was renewed for a fourth season, but without showrunner Glen Mazzara, who parted ways with the show during its hiatus.
"The Walking Dead" Season 3 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.