Cable crushes network TV

A big weekend series of top-rated cable shows managed to put US network TV firmly in its place as the finale of The Walking Dead, plus the debut Season 3 opening episode of Game of Thrones as well as the final episode of The Bible all combined to ruin Sunday evening as far as network TV was concerned.

AMC’s powerful The Walking Dead drew a series-best 12.4 million viewers Sunday at 9 p.m., a tad better than its mid-season première in February (12.3 million). The season-three debut of HBO’s Game of Thrones in that same timeslot Sunday night drew a series-best 4.4 million viewers to the premium pay-TV channel. But it was History’s re-telling of The Bible, which was the surprise on cable’s night of nights, with a peak viewing that was claimed to average 12.33 million in the 9-10pm time slot.

Network broadcasters struggled to keep up. CBS’ perennial 60 Minutes current affairs show delivered a respectable 15.7 million, but the rest suffered. The Amazing Race (CBS) managed 10.5 million, while NBC’s talent show The Voice struggled with just 5.5 million. A special Celebrity Apprentice suffered at just 4.6 million.

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