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UPDATED: Whopping 16.1 million viewers make for lively return of 'Walking Dead'

“The Walking Dead” is very much alive in the ratings: The season four premiere of the AMC zombie apocalypse hit posted a new series record with 16.1 million total viewers.

Some 10.4 million of those viewers were adults aged 18-49, meaning the show continues to be the No. 1 entertainment program among the key adult demographic.

Preliminary Nielsen numbers cited by AMC on Monday indicated that Sunday’s “The Walking Dead” premiere ranked as the top telecast in the demo, outperforming all programs including primetime NFL football. Final Nielsen numbers released Tuesday show that NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” match that pit the Redskins against the Cowboys (garnering an average of 22.1 total viewers) edged out “TWD” in the key adult demo with an 8.4 household rating (10.67 million viewers) compared to an 8.2 for the AMC drama (10.4 million viewers).

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is getting his mojo back after falling apart in the wake of what happened to his wife last season.

With time-shifted playback, AMC estimates that last night’s premiere should go north of 20 million viewers.The previous record for an episode of “The Walking Dead” was 12.4 million total viewers and 8.1 million viewers 18-49 for the season three finale.

PS: I’ve already seen the second episode this season and it’s even better than last night’s premiere.