The Walking Dead

Gene Page/ Greg Nicotero/ TWD Productions LLC

The zombie apocalypse was not kind to Wisteria Lane. It showed no mercy to the law offices of Stern, Lockhart & Gardner.

And it just about obliterated those perky Pan-Am flight attendants, sorry, stewardesses. 

A look at Walking Dead's record-breaking premiere, and what it means for the competition: 

The AMC monster saga's second-season opener averaged a whopping 7.3 million viewers, about the most cable has seen for a drama since the days of Tony Soprano and The Sopranos

Among all-important adults 18-49, AMC said, The Walking Dead was a basic-cable record-setter. On the night, it outrated every show on broadcast TV, save the zombie-proof Sunday Night Football

In head-to-flesh competition from 9 to 10:30 p.m., the super-sized episode dropped Desperate Housewives to a season low in the demo, bested The Good Wife, and knocked Pan Am below a 2.0 rating.

An even worse sign for Pan Am? The struggling retro drama lost even more viewers after Walking Dead ended. Pan Am wound up as Sunday's lowest-rated broadcast scripted series. On the season, it is the only freshman show that ABC has neither picked up for the full season, nor canceled.

For The Walking Dead, the performance was a sign that for all the buzz about showrunners, the offseason loss of creator and executive producer Frank Darabont wasn't a buzz-killer.

Then again, zombies are nothing if not resilient.

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