Walking Dead season finale draws record US TV audience
Zombie TV thriller The Walking Dead has attracted its biggest audience for a season finale in the US to date.
The closing episode of the fourth series on Sunday averaged 15.7 million viewers, reported Variety.
In the coveted 18-49 age group, it was the top rated show across all US TV entertainment programming on Sunday, according to initial Nielsen data.
The third series finale in March 2013 was watched by 12.4 million viewers.
Season four overall set new records for The Walking Dead, averaging 13.3 million live/same day viewers per episode - an increase of 24% over the season three average.
End Quote AMC president Charlie Collier
The linear television business is Dead and well. ”
Sunday night's live Talking Dead after-show delivered a series record of 7.3 million viewers.
The season finale aired on FX on Monday in the UK.
The Walking Dead's highest ever audience was for the fourth season premiere in 2013, which attracted 16.1 million.
The show, on US cable TV channel AMC, follows deputy sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as he tries to survive flesh-eating zombies in a post-apocalyptic world.
The latest season has shown Grimes and other survivors making for a safe zone called Terminus.
"The linear television business is Dead and well," said AMC president Charlie Collier.
"Thanks to Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, the other terrific executive producers and the entire cast, crew and network for working together to bring the fans (myself included) another unforgettable season of The Walking Dead.
"To see this show serve as the centrepiece of a truly historic night on AMC is truly gratifying. So many played a role in this success... in giving the fans a reason to continue to return in ever-greater numbers. And so we say, until next fall, 'Welcome to Terminus.'".
The Walking Dead started in 2010 with an initial six episode run and was inspired by the comic book series by Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.
It has been a huge hit for AMC, which also created the critically-acclaimed drug drama Breaking Bad.
The final episode of Breaking Bad last year brought in 10.3 million viewers - the show's highest audience.
Season five of The Walking Dead is scheduled to air in the US in October 2014.