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THE TV COLUMN

Walking Dead enlivens viewers in target market

By Michael Storey

This article was published December 13, 2012 at 3:26 a.m.

— I hear all your groans and moans out there.

Those are the first signs of cold turkey Walking Dead withdrawal. The hit AMC series, which airs at 8 p.m. Sundays, has gone on winter hiatus, leaving millions of fans in the lurch and yearning to learn what happens next.

Few would have predicted the success of a basic cable series dealing with the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, but here it is.

Nielsen Media reports that The Walking Dead has become the first cable series on any network to win the overall fall TV ratings war in the advertiser-coveted key demographic of adults ages 18 to 49.

That’s the one demographic that really counts.

Winning the fall ratings means The Walking Dead beat out such broadcast network stars as Modern Family, The Voice, X Factor, Two and a Half Men, Grey’s Anatomy and The Big Bang Theory.

The Dec. 2 midseason finale drew an impressive 10.5 million viewers.

Tally in the repeat presentations and the total was 15.2 million.

Including the seven-day DVR and On Demand numbers adds another 3.6 million.

Those are impressive ratings. AMC has to be thrilled.

In a news release, AMC President Charlie Collier thanked fans and cooed, “The records that The Walking Dead shattered today represent an enormous achievement of which we are so proud.”

The Walking Dead now reigns as the No. 1 ad-supported drama series in basic cable history.

A series about the zombie apocalypse doesn’t score such numbers by simply relying on blood and gore. Sometimes, especially during the current season, the ubiquitous zombie menace has taken a back seat to the human threat.

The series’ true genius is that the drama revolves around human emotions, interpersonal relationships and psychological reactions to the calamity that is the apocalypse.

If the facile thrill of whacking off the heads of zombies was the only thing offered, interest would have waned long ago.

The midseason finale ended with our hero Daryl captured, and presented to his evil brother Merle just as the Governor declares Merle a traitor.

That’s the big cliffhanger. Will the townsfolk exact revenge on the Dixon brothers or not?

Andrew Lincoln (Rick) notes, “Will they make it? I think that’s pretty much going to keep people waiting to see the first episode of the second half.”

Executive produce Glen Mazzara adds, “In the first half of the season, we established these two different worlds — the Governor at Woodbury and Rick at the prison. Now they have found out about each other and all I can say is ... it’s on.”

The Walking Dead returns Feb. 10 with the episode “The Suicide King.” There are eight more episodes this season.

And more good news for fans — The live follow-up show, The Talking Dead, expands to an hour at 9 p.m. Feb. 10 with inside poop and scoop, chat about that night’s episode and special guests.

Inspiration: If you get Oprah’s OWN cable channel, you might want to check out Six Little McGhees debuting at 9 p.m. Saturday.

The new documentaryseries follows the adventures of Mia and Rozonno McGhee as they juggle marriage, a family carpetcleaning business and six toddlers.

The McGhees were high school sweethearts who married and began “their struggle to rise above their impoverished roots.”

Before long, Mia and Ro found themselves the parents of Columbus, Ohio’s, first sextuplets — Josiah, Madison, Olivia, Issac, Rozonno Jr. and Elijah — born on June 9, 2010.

The cameras follow the family from sun up to sun down, documenting each busy day.

This being an Oprah project, it’s all meant to be inspiring and show “that love can overcome any obstacle.”

Racy: As long as you’re on OWN, check out Golden Sisters. Two back-to-back episodes of the new reallife comedy will sneak peek at 9 p.m. Sunday.

The series follows three elderly sisters — twins Mary and Josie, and big sister Teresa (72, 72 and 81, respectively).

The grandmothers became famous last summer when a YouTube video of them watching Kim Kardashian’s infamous sex tape went viral.

OWN says, “These spirited, lovable ladies share their outrageous opinions on everything from sex and dating to celebrities and pop culture.”

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. E-mail:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 32 on 12/13/2012

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