"Game of Thrones" premiere and "The Walking Dead" finale break ratings records

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen in "Game of Thrones." HBO

One show's season was coming to a close, while another was just beginning. Both were in time-slot and male-viewership competition. And both scored record-high ratings. That's what you call a Happy Easter Sunday.

The third season finale of "The Walking Dead" delivered another series-high rating Sunday night -- and despite coming up against the highly-anticipated premiere of HBO's "Game of Thrones." AMC's zombie hit drew 12.4 million viewers for the finale, a number which just barely beat out the show's previous record viewership of 12.3 million from its February mid-season premiere. The show also had 8.1 million adults 18-49, making it the week's top program. "The Walking Dead" has been a ratings phenomenon this season, averaging a 5.6 rating among adults 18-49 -- higher than any other show on television.

"Two words: Grateful. Dead. It's a joy that we get to work with such tremendous talent to make 'The Walking Dead' and 'Talking Dead' [the post-'Walking Dead' talk show] come to life for audiences that continue to engage and grow," said Charlie Collier, AMC's president. "In just three seasons, 'The Walking Dead' has become a pop-culture phenomenon, entertaining millions of passionate viewers and obliterating traditional lines between cable and broadcast television."

Meanwhile, in the land of the living (kind of) and just beginning, HBO's "Game of Thrones" returned with its most-watched episode ever. The third season premiere delivered 4.4 million viewers for the 9 p.m. first airing and received a total of 6.7 million viewers for the entire night after its two repeats were tallied. Sunday's premiere was up 13 percent from its first airing last year and marks a record "Thrones" in both measurements.

Tell us: Which show did you watch? Or did you watch both via DVR?

  • Lesley Savage

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