Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon doesn't look all that sensitive here, but star Norman Reedus gives him heart in "The Walking Dead." (AMC)

Norman Reedus doesn't watch TV, so "The Walking Dead" star wasn't familiar with any of the characters his TV persona, Daryl Dixon, defeated in RedEye's Best TV Character Tournament over the past two weeks.

On Wednesday, the zombie-killing Daryl defeated Abed Nadir of NBC's "Community" to win the fourth tournament, and Reedus was pretty stoked to be the new champ.

"I just want to thank all the people who are voting and the people who are watching the show and helping it become such a big success. It's all because of them, the fans," he told me Wednesday from New York, adding humbly. "I would like to thank the cast and the writers and the producers of the show for giving me such interesting stuff to play with and interesting people to play with."

But Reedus' nuanced portrayal of Daryl is the reason the character, who does not appear in the graphic novels upon which the AMC hit is based, has become a fan favorite. And he appreciates all the love he gets from fans.

"The fans have been so key to keeping Daryl alive on the show," he said. "I'm eternally grateful."

Reedus, who was heading off to Mexico with his 11-year-old son Thursday, talked more about his approach to playing Daryl, his newfound love for "Portlandia" and what fans can expect when "The Walking Dead" returns Feb. 12 on AMC.

Thanks for calling.  
Yeah, of course. Oh, happy holidays man.  

So you know about the tournament. I saw you tweeted it a while ago.  
Yeah, I won. Woo!  

Well, almost. (We talked about an hour before the tournament ended.)
Oh, I still haven't won. [Laughs.] Vote redneck!  

You've got about 50 minutes left and you're only ahead by one percentage point.  
Oh. What the heck? All right, cool. Well hey, I'm happy to be in the final. [Laughs.]

What did you think of the tournament?  
It's funny because it's gone back and forth; people are like kind of going to war.  

I've never seen the show "Community," but I like Joel McHale. I did "The Soup," but I'm sure ["Community" is] hysterical. But yeah, I'm happy to just be a part of it. And you know, people are giving Daryl a lotta love, so. I'm just happy to be part of a cool show. I'm happy to have a job. [Laughs.] You know what I mean?  

I do. Let run down all of the people that Daryl has stopped. First Lydia Adams from "Southland."