"The Walking Dead" midseason finale Sunday scored a whopping 10.5 million total viewers, and finished its fall run ahead of everything else on television except for NBC's "Sunday Night Football," AMC said.
That could make AMC's zombie drama the first cable drama to beat its network competition in the fall. As TheWrap reported in October, the series has a legitimate chance to finish the 2012-13 TV season as the top-scripted show, beating juggernauts like "Modern Family" and "Big Bang Theory."
If its past ratings hold, "American Idol" is likely to top "The Walking Dead" overall. And "Sunday Night Football" finished last season as the top-rated show overall, and is likely to do so again.
In October, "The Walking Dead" premiered to a 5.8 rating in the key 18-49 demo, the highest rating for a scripted show in a year. Its first eight episodes for this season averaged a 5.32, the best overnight average for any show this season except for "Sunday Night Football," AMC said.
But "Walking Dead" is locked in a close race with "Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family," and may not end the fall season on top. When networks look at ratings over a seven-day period to take DVR viewing into account, "Big Bang" is on top in the demo, followed closely by "Modern Family" and then "Walking Dead."
"Representing both the studio and the network as AMC does on this project, I speak for so many when I say 'thank you' and congratulations to everyone involved,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. "The records that 'The Walking Dead' shattered today represent an enormous achievement of which we are so proud."