Blockbuster ratings anticipated for The Walking Dead return

Blockbuster ratings anticipated for The Walking Dead return

The highly-anticipated second half of the third season of The Walking Dead will return to screens tomorrow evening on Foxtel’s FX channel.

The 8.30pm 'express from the US' broadcast of the cult-hit is set to be a record breaker according to Karin Simoncini, managing director of Fox International Channels (FIC).

“Every season has done better than the last, so my guess is that the trend will continue and we’ll see higher ratings than for the first part of season three,” Simoncini told B&T.

The Walking Dead has averaged 243,000 viewers each week and the season three premiere was the number one drama on subscription television (STV) in October and November.

In the US viewers have been steadily increasing since the first season’s 5.3m viewers, with 7.3 million watching the first half of season two and 8.1 the second half. The zombie-drama busted through the record for the US’ most watched drama telecast in basic cable history when the season three premiere delivered 10.9 million viewers.

Simoncini said the strength of the show’s characters and the rule-breaking storyline has kept audiences hooked.

“So much happens in an episode that’s unexpected. The show breaks all the rules with main characters being killed off, no one is really safe and this keeps you constantly on the edge unsure of what’s to come, making you want to watch what happens next.”

The ‘express from the US’ show could be a game-changer for Foxtel, according to Simoncini who believes The Walking Dead differentiates STV from its free-to-air competitors.

“You’ve got a series that has been phenomenally successful with a huge buzz and a devoted fan base, who can only get the show on Foxtel.”

The broadcast of The Walking Dead comes just before FX’s one-year birthday on February 26.

A year on, Simoncini says FIC is “pleased” with the progress its flagship entertainment and drama channel, which targets men aged 25-54, has made.

“FX delivered the biggest show on cable TV internationally to Australian audiences with double episodes and ad free premieres, creating an outstanding result,” she said.

“Our qualitative research reveals that FX has captured the male demographic and their companions who tune in regularly which is an excellent result to achieve in the first year.”

Upcoming programming highlights for FX include the exclusive local premieres of Transporter – The Series and Da Vinci’s Demons. The Ultimate Fighter Australia , season four of Justified, season two of Copper and season two of Hell on Wheels are scheduled for later in the year.

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