AMC made the kickoff telecast numbers on new series Halt And Catch Fire extra super meaningless by making it available for two weeks prior in a sneak preview on AMC.com, Tumblr, TV provider VOD and TV Everywhere. Even so, the premiere of the computing-boom series logged an average of 1.2 million viewers at 10 PM Sunday, including 433,000 demo viewers and 464,000 adults 25-54. That is little more than half the audience AMC’s crunchy-gravel drama Turn logged at 9 PM in its early-April premiere, on a very competitive Sunday night that included HBO’s Game Of Thrones season opener, CBS’ Academy Of Country Music Awards and, yes, WrestleMania 30 on pay-per-view. With its repeat viewing at 10:30 PM, that crowd grew to a cumed 3 million viewers. Among the premiere telecast’s 2.1 mil were 669,000 demo viewers; with the 10:30 PM repeat factored in, that stat grows to 1.1 million. As a lead-in to Halt last night, Turn at 9 PM snagged 1.2 million as well, including 369,000 demo viewers and 395,000 adults 25-54.
Last July, AMC announced it had picked up both Turn and Halt And Catch Fire, in what network topper Charlie Collier said is the first time AMC has picked up two scripted series in the same cycle. Both projects hail from AMC Studios. Set in the early 1980s, Halt dramatizes the personal computing boom through the eyes of a visionary, Joe (Lee Pace), an engineer, Gordon (Scoot McNairy), and a prodigy, Cameron (Mackenzie Davis), whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time.
AMC says there had been “hundreds of thousands of plays” of Halt in advance of its official network premiere and results still are coming on off the sneak preview.
“With Halt and Catch Fire, we are targeting a passionate core audience that largely consumes television on its own timetable, which is why we made the premiere available through a sneak preview on a variety of platforms including AMC.com and Tumblr,” AMC President Charlie Collier said. “The preview generated hundreds of thousands of plays and strong social media buzz – just off the results we can immediately measure.” He said the network is happy with the “positive response.”
One week before Halt’s launch on the network, AMC’s first-ever midseason finale of Mad Men saw 1.9 million viewers tune in to the same time slot to see Don Draper and the rest of Sterling Cooper & Partners gang watch the moon landing. In its first Memorial Day weekend finale, the May 25 airing was down from the 2.7 million who watched the Season 6 ender on June 23 last year. (With Live+3 viewing stats now in, the first ever midseason finale of AMC’s Mad Men saw the Matthew Weiner-created series draw an audience of 3.6 million.)
Meanwhile, over on HBO, Game Of Thrones returned with an average of 7.2 million viewers at 9 PM, which was on par with its previous most recent original episode. (For the night, the series clocked 8.2 million.) After that, at 10 PM, the season finale of Silicon Valley ticked up, to 1.7 million viewers (2 million if you add in its second play on the night and, HBO notes, the show is averaging a gross crowd of 5.5 mil). Draw your own conclusions.