LOS ANGELES, Oct 14 (Reuters) - AMC's cult zombie horrorseries "The Walking Dead" drew its largest audience in theshow's history, 16.1 million viewers, for the season premiereon Sunday, the U.S. cable television network said on Monday.
According to Nielsen data provided by AMC, thehour-long season premiere was the top-rated show across all U.S.television programming on Sunday night in the 18-49 demographic,including NBC's NFL "Sunday Night Football" game, which usuallydraws the largest viewership in the demographic.
Out of the 16.1 million viewers, 10.4 million were in the18-49 age group most coveted by advertisers. The season threefinale of "The Walking Dead" in March attracted a previous highof 12.4 million viewers, with 8.1 million in the 18-49 group.
"The Walking Dead" also went head-to-head against NBC'sprimetime football game in much of the country, except for theWest Coast. The football game between the Dallas Cowboys andWashington Redskins drew a total of 19.7 million viewers.
AMC said more than 5 million users discussed the season fourpremiere on Facebook and Twitter, and the episode generated morethan 1.1 million tweets on Sunday.
"The Walking Dead," based on a comic book series of the samename, follows a sheriff's deputy as he tries to save survivorsfrom flesh-eating zombies in a post-apocalyptic world.
AMC, owned by AMC Networks Inc., has been expanding itsaudience with stylized shows, such as period advertising drama"Mad Men" which drew a series high of 2.7 million in June thisyear, and the series finale of gritty drug drama "Breaking Bad,"watched by 10.3 million viewers last month.