Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Photo: Chloe Dykstra and Chris Hardwick

The Walking Dead regularly beats the tar out of everything in the ratings, but what’s really amazing is that Talking Dead is also a competition killer.

As CNBC's Squawk Box noted in an interview with Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick, this show about a show gets higher numbers than a lot of major dramas.

For example, the Talking Dead mid-season finale on December 1 had more than 6 million viewers with a 3.0 rating in the coveted 18-49 bracket. For 10 p.m. on cable when it's just an analysis of the previous program? That’s pretty amazing.

For comparison's sake, on the same night, The Real Housewives of Atlanta took in 3.1 million viewers and a 1.4 rating, and Homeland had just over 2 million viewers and a .7 rating. Those are both cable shows, but Once Upon a Time, which airs on ABC, had 6.64 million viewers and a 1.9 rating. The Amazing Race had more than 10 million viewers on CBS, but a 2.1 rating, which is less than Talking Dead’s 3.0. So Talking Dead is even beating network shows in the key demographic.

"I would love to say 'Oh that is not a surprise to me' but it was a complete surprise to us that it was going to work out that way," Chris told CNBC of the talk show’s success.  "I think what we provide for people is that, you know, shows like Walking Dead or Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, all these shows, there are so many characters, the drama is dense. I think a show like ours just sort of magically, it's like therapy. ... It's essentially an isolated version of the water cooler where it's like, ‘Oh, we can sort of talk it out.’"

Talking Dead — as well as Talking Bad for the other AMC show’s finale — helps viewers process what happened, put it in context, and get some idea of what may be to come. It is therapy, in a way, and it also allows our minds to work through things so we can go to sleep and actually get some work done on Monday.

Do you watch Talking Dead after every episode, or do you go straight to sleep or watch something else? Do you tape Talking Dead to watch later, or see it On Demand or online? Just curious.

As an aside, CNBC compared Chris to Ryan Seacrest and Chris joked that he's like Ryan's "nerdy older brother." Ryan is 38. Chris is 42. Neither guy looks much older than a college kid. Chris is a lot cooler, though. That’s just understood.

The Walking Dead Season 4 returns on Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Talking Dead will air directly afterward.

Sources: CNBC, Benzinga, TV by the Numbers


Credit: Celebified Photo: Andrew J. West of Greek and Privileged Fame Joins the Cast of the Walking Dead's Fourth Season