AMC has renewed "The Walking Dead" today for a third season.
Premiering Oct. 16 with 7.3 million total viewers, the series shattered cable records and attracted 11 million total viewers when including the 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. encores. The numbers were a 38 percent increase -- 36 percent in 18-49 (4.8 million) and 35 percent in 25-54 (4.2 million) -- compared to Season 1's premiere in total viewers.
"The Walking Dead's" international premieres delivered strong results too in all major international television markets and broke pay-TV ratings' records across the world.
“Today we are pleased to announce that the ‘dead’ shall live as we proudly renew 'The Walking Dead' for a third season on AMC and, globally, with our terrific partners at Fox International Channels,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. "We are thankful for everyone's contribution in front of and behind the camera as we continue to make 'The Walking Dead' a unique television experience. And, we are so proud as it continues to set viewership records around the world."
The series earned a 2010 Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series - Drama and won the 2011 Emmy Award for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup.
The network will split the show's expanded 13-episode season this year. Six episodes will follow the premiere, with the remaining six airing starting Feb. 12, 2012.
Taking the showrunner helm from Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile”) for Season 2 is Glen Mazzara ("The Shield"), who penned Episode 5 of the show and who signed aboard as an executive producer following Season 1.
"The Walking Dead" follows police officer Rick Grimes as he leads his family and a group of survivors across the country in search of a safe home as zombie hordes threaten their every move.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, the series stars Andrew Lincoln ("Love, Actually," "Teachers"), Jon Bernthal ("The Pacific," "The Ghost Writer"), Steven Yeun, Sarah Wayne Callies ("Prison Break"), Chandler Riggs ("Get Low"), Jeffrey DeMunn ("The Green Mile") and Laurie Holden ("Shield").
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