Negan's victim was revealed to 17 million "Walking Dead" fans on the show's Season 7 premiere on Sunday. That's a 16 percent increase on the comparable sixth season start in 2015, and it nearly matches the series record.
Among viewers 18-49 -- the favorite age range for most advertisers -- Episode 701 nabbed an 8.4 rating, per Nielsen's Live + Same Day metric.
Last year, the hit zombie apocalypse drama netted 14.6 million viewers and a 7.4 rating in the 18-49 demographic. That was down from the fall 2014 premiere, which scored an incredible 17.3 million viewers -- still the high-water mark -- and an 8.7 demo rating.
Among adults 25-54, Episode 701 did set a series record, with an 8.7 national rating. And when alternative platforms are counted, the resolved cliffhanger may be able to make a similar claim among both total viewers and those aged 18-49. For example, from late Sunday through Monday morning, the network received 750,000 additional digital views of the Season 7 premiere on its own platforms.
By the way, that 17 million total-linear-viewer count is up 20 percent versus the Season 6 finale, and it is 22 percent better in the main 18-49 demo. So, they're plenty pleased over at AMC Networks.
AMC does not share L+SD measurements; the cable channel chooses to focus on Nielsen numbers that include three days worth of delayed viewing, which will be out on Friday. TheWrap will share those with readers when they are available.
The big "live" viewing numbers boded very well for after-show "Talking Dead," which did set a series record among total viewers.
The special 90-minute episode hauled in 7.6 million total viewers, with a 3.7 national rating in the key demo. The overall eyeball count was up 34 percent from Episode 601's after party. The installment jumped 28 percent among those 18-49.
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.