If Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) and Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) had access to TV in the zombie apocalypse, they’d probably be watching The Walking Dead.
TWD is the biggest show on TV for younger viewers. We already knew it was No. 1 in the advertiser-loving 18-49 age group, but it turns out, TWD is also extremely popular in the 12-34 demographic. (Hopefully the numbers skew a little closer to the 34 end than 12, which feels a wee bit young to watch Hershel get his head sliced off.)
Variety shared a breakdown showing how cable has become more popular for younger viewers, with 15 of the top 50 primetime shows among the 12-34 crowd coming from cable.
The top five included two from AMC — The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. In fact, The Walking Dead was ranked No. 1 on the list of the 50 most popular primetime entertainment series of 2013 among people age 12-34. Number one again!
According to Variety’s stats, TWD had an average of about 16.48 million viewers this year, with 7.95 million viewers in the 12-34 age group. A&E’s Duck Dynasty was ranked No. 2 on the list, with 4.95 million people in that 12-34 demographic, out of 13.37 million viewers overall.
Breaking Bad ranked at No. 5 among the 50 primetime shows, and ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars was ranked at No. 18. Other cable shows like Teen Mom 2, Buckwild, South Park, Game of Thrones, True Blood, and Love and Hip Hop Atlanta 2 also made the top 50 list.
Interestingly enough, The Walking Dead’s post-episode talk show, Talking Dead, also made the cut, ranking at No. 36 in the top 50 most popular primetime shows for the 12-34 age group. Talking Dead has about 4.75 million viewers with 2.16 million in the 12-34 demo.
What does this mean? Well, for better or worse, advertisers tend to like younger viewers, so it fuels the idea that TWD is the biggest show on TV. It may not have more overall viewers than, say, a network show like NCIS, but it has more viewers in the demographic that TV execs/advertisers tend to care about most. They can be ageist like that. Still, 12-34 is such a huge age range to lump into one group. What does a 12-year-old really have in common with a 34-year-old? Maybe just The Walking Dead…
The Walking Dead Season 4 returns with Episode 9 on Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.