'The Walking Dead' is TV's most popular drama and its viewership is dominated by young people

NEW YORK, N.Y. – “The Walking Dead” rules as television’s most popular drama, but the Nielsen company’s viewership totals only give a hint at the extent to which zombies rule.

The AMC show had 13.5 million viewers on Sunday, beating CBS’ “Madam Secretary” (12.5 million) as the most-watched drama, Nielsen said. Yet 8.8 million of those viewers were between 18 and 49 years old, the demographic upon which most television advertising sales are based on.

In that demo, “The Walking Dead” towers over its competition. No other drama had half as many young viewers last week. ABC’s “Scandal” was second with 3.7 million, and “How to Get Away With Murder” had 3.5 million, Nielsen said.

“The Walking Dead” has even beat Sunday Night NFL football in three of the five weeks that they have gone head-to-head this season, including last week’s game between Chicago and Green Bay.

This season, “The Walking Dead” has averaged 9.6 million viewers aged 18 to 49 for its five episodes.

CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 9.3 million viewers. ABC had 8.4 million viewers, NBC had 7.8 million, Fox had 4.4 million, Univision had 2.8 million, the CW had 1.5 million, Telemundo had 1.18 million and ION Television had 1.17 million.

ESPN was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.95 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel, covering Election Night and its aftermath, had 2.43 million, AMC had 1.78 million and the Hallmark Channel had 1.72 million.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.2 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 8.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 7 million viewers.

For the week of Nov. 3-9, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Chicago at Green Bay, NBC, 18.13 million; “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 16.58 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 16.56 million; “CMA Awards,” ABC, 16.25 million; “The Walking Dead,” AMC, 13.53 million; “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 13.09 million; “Madam Secretary, CBS, 12.54 million; NFL Football: Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants, ESPN, 12.36 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.16 million; “Football Night in America,” NBC, 12.06 million.


ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.