Zombies crush Rally to Restore Sanity -- ratings-wise
About 2 million people watched the live telecast of the Rally to Restore Sanity on Comedy Central Saturday
About 5 million watched the debut of a zombie show the next night on AMC.
"It's a good day to be dead," AMC president Charlie Collier gloated Monday.
No word from Comedy Central in re whether it was a good day to be a citizen of voting age.
Also no word yet from creators of AMC's other series, "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," in re how they feel about eating the dust of "The Walking Dead."
The "Walking Dead" numbers are for its initial Sunday night telecast only.
The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear ratings are for its initial, live telecast on Comedy Central only. The 2 million also does not include those who watched it live on C-Span which is not rated by Nielsen.
While no zombie-fest -- or Comic-con where zombie aficionados got their first peek at "The Walking Dead" in July -- the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was a ratings success of sorts.
The rally -- which included performances by John Legend, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, and an aborted poignant performance by Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known at Cat Stevens) which Stephen Colbert interrupted for the sake of one of his look-at-me,-I'm-a-rabid-fear-monger gags -- attracted nearly 400 percent more viewers than the network has recently averaged on Saturdays in the middle of the day (and in the late morning on the West Coast).
This may sound like damning with faint praise, and in the interest of full disclosure we must note that the percentage of the country's population on the East Coast using their TV's at noon Sundays - and on the West Coast using their TV's at 9 a.m. - is very small compared to the percentage of the population that uses their TV's in primetime.
So zombies did have a huge advantage over the comics and their rally. On the other hand, it was a zombie show. And they were a rally to restore sanity. Had they restored sanity, shouldn't the rally have attracted at least as many people as, you know, zombies?
So, there is not getting around the fact that the premiere of "The Walking Dead" bagged a much bigger crowd -- and the biggest audience ever for any original series on AMC.
End of speech
We like to think of "The Walking Dead" as an allegory for the Comcast/NBC merger, as has been suggested by at least one former NBC exec. And, AMC's president Collier did note Monday that 'The Walking Dead' "is that rare piece of programming that works on so many levels."
He did not, however include "allegory for Comcast/NBC merger in among those "levels." Instead, he insisted the show "is legitimately great storytelling" and "not only highly entertaining, but incredibly thought provoking as well."
Comedy Central, meanwhile, late Monday afternoon noted the 570,000 live video streams of its rally, which makes it "one of the biggest live streaming events ever for MTV Networks." (Comedy Central is one of the MTV Networks)
The network also says event organizers "feel feel confident that over 250,000 people attended the rally, which was held on the Mall in Washington. And, the network added, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority says the Metro set a new high for Saturday Metrorail ridership the day of the rally, breaking a 19 year-old record.
Of course, the rally was not the only thing going on in Washington that day. It was the weekend of Howard University homecoming, for instance, and many people had come to town early for Sunday morning's Marine Corps Marathon.
Lisa de Moraes
| November 1, 2010; 4:23 PM ET
Categories: Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
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