Walking Dead Premiere Shatters Cable Record

The cable television zombie drama "The Walking Dead" set a viewership record for its midseason debut on Sunday while competing with the second highest watched Grammys of all time.

The zombie drama which is based on the comic book series created by Robert Kirkman collected 8.1 million total viewers. It also set records in two demographic categories. The first was adults aged 18-49 had 5.4 million viewers while adults aged 25-54 made up 4.4 million viewers.

"It is a great night for AMC. We're thrilled to see this incredible record breaking response to 'The Walking Dead,' and 'Comic Book Men' is off to a strong start as well. Congratulations to the teams behind both of these shows," Charlie Collier, president of AMC, said in a statement.

"The Walking Dead" did not have an easy go at it. It shared the same time slot as the Grammys, which had the second highest watched show it ever had with 39 million viewers tuning in.

But this series is used to setting records. The December 2010 Season one finale had 6 million viewers. That included 4 million people aged 18-49 which set the then-record for the most-watched basic cable series of all time for that age group.

And Sunday's ratings even topped October's 90-minute Season two premiere which drew 7.3 million viewers.

October's Season two showing became the most watched telecast for any drama in basic-cable history in two key demographics. That show had 4.8 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic and 4.2 million adults 25-54.

The record ratings come as Kirkman is the subject of a lawsuit filed by childhood friend Tony Moore over financial compensation for his part in the booming franchise.

It also comes just a month after AMC announced that it would sign on to expand the third season of the series to 16 episodes.