The chatter about Breaking Bad ratings has been upbeat lately. But, in spite of mostly rave reviews by critics (including your’s truly), AMC’s Breaking Bad is still struggling to attract a larger audience.
The season two premiere that aired last Sunday drew a 1.2 household rating and 1.7 million viewers. This is just a smidgen over the 1.1 household rating and 1.4 million total viewers (785,000 adults 18-49) the series debut garnered over a year ago.
Last January (2008), Breaking Bad launched against some stiff competition - more than 50 million viewers tuned into the National Football Conference Championship on Fox that night.
Last Sunday, however, the show faced a typical evening line-up. Viewers hung out around the bottom rungs - Amazing Race, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters etc. etc. (Twitter buddy @hitfixdaniel breaks it down here.)
In spite of these rather discouraging season two premiere numbers, it’s comforting to know that Breaking Bad is supported by some top advertisers, including (according to TV Week) Universal Pictures, Expedia.com, DirecTV, Geico and BMW.
Also, Breaking Bad audience demographics are very likely similar to that of Mad Men - younger and often wealthy (100K+ income) viewers that advertisers are eager to reach.
On another bright note, incoming DVR counts should alter the rather dismal ratings landscape somewhat.
Furthermore, the AMC “trust factor” is high. AMC generates high quality content and the network patiently allows their original dramas to marinate and build an audience.
There’s a certain comfort level in that. Audiences can invest fully, trusting that AMC won’t pull the rug out from a series with an abrupt and painful cancellation.
As television drama fades to grey, I’m clinging to channels like AMC.