The Walking Dead

Gene Page/AMC

The zombie apocalypse continues to be lucrative for AMC—The Walking Dead season five premiere hit new heights with 17.3 million viewers, the show's highest ratings ever. AMC's comic book adaptation also pulled in 11 million viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

Season 5 of The Walking Dead picked up following the events of the season four finale with the gang trapped in Terminus. A bloody and fiery battle ensued and thanks to Carol (Melissa McBride), Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the rest of the gang were all reunited.

"It's a Dead man's party. Who could ask for more?" Charlie Collier, AMC president, said in a statement. "Enormous thanks to our friends and executive producers Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, Greg Nicotero—who also directed last night's terrific premiere—Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert and Tom Luse and all of their fellow producers, cast and crew for everything they do to make the #1 show on television such a unique and incredible experience for the fans. The Walking Dead is one of those increasingly rare shows today that can command a live audience not significantly cannibalized by time-shifted viewing. Who would have thought that cannibalized television could be curtailed by cannibal-ized television?"

The Walking Dead also stars Chandler Riggs, Chad L. Coleman, Lauren Cohan, Emily Kinney, Steven Yeun, Christian Serratos, Alanna Masterson, Andrew J. West, Sonequa Martin-Green, Lawrence Gilliard Jr. and Michael Cudlitz.

In advance of the fifth season premiere, AMC renewed the drama for a sixth season.

"We could not be more excited for October 12th as we share new episodes of The Walking Dead with fans around the globe," Collier said in a statement when the show was renewed. "In advance of Sunday's season five premiere, AMC proudly confirms a sixth season order of this extraordinary series. Thank you to Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple, the terrific executive producers, and the entire team who brings this compelling world and these rich characters to life. There's plenty more Dead ahead thanks to their impressive, collective effort."

The network is also working on a companion series set in a different location and following a new set of survivors. So far just a pilot has been ordered, but considering the pedigree, there's a good chance we'll be seeing The Walking Dead: Insert Location pretty soon.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays, 9 p.m. on AMC.

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