11 February 2013 12:31 PM, PST | TVfanatic | See recent TVfanatic news »

A long hiatus had no negative effect on The Walking Dead last night, as the return of this AMC thriller scared up its largest audience of all-time: 12.3 million households tuned in.

That's 1.4 million more than the previous record, set by the Season 3 premiere in October.

The installment also drew 7.7 million young adults between the advertiser friendly ages of 18 and 49.

"When you look at numbers like this, the first thing that comes to mind is how grateful we are to the fans of this show. They embrace ‘The Walking Dead’ in a way that we wanted to believe was possible but we never take for granted,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “The cast and crew put everything they have into making this show. They’re a phenomenally talented group who truly give their all. We congratulate everyone involved.” »

- matt@mediavine.com (Matt Richenthal)

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