It was either the best of premieres or the worst of premieres depending on what numbers and outlets you’re looking at. The heavily promoted Season 3 debut of Orphan Black on April 18 drew 535,000 total viewers on BBC America. That’s down 13% from those who tuned in for the Season 2 debut on April 19 last year and a drop of 21% from the Season 1 premiere on March 30, 2013. Among adults 18-49 the S3 opener of Tatiana Maslany-led clone thriller snagged 246,000 viewers. Premiere-to-premiere, that’s a decline of 37% from the Season 2 debut.
However, unlike the BBC America only airings of Seasons 1 and 2 of Orphan Black, the opener of the 10-episode Season 3 was available on all of AMC Networks channels. To that degree, Saturday’s premiere hit an all time viewership high in Live + Same Day numbers with an audience of 1.27 million tuning in on to simultaneous BBC America, AMC, IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv broadcasts. The synergy was the result of AMC Networks taking operational control over BBC America last October in a $200 million deal.
In Live + 3 numbers, the S3 Orphan Black debut garnered a total of 1.9 million viewers across all five channels. That’s a 51% jump over what the Season 2 opener got in the DVR numbers last year from its BBC America broadcast. On BBC America, Live + 3 results saw the premiere’s total viewership rise 87% and its 18-49 Live + SD results go up 104% – those are the kind of number a lot of networks would like to replicate. Even more so when the Live + 3 median income of $77,000 makes Orphan Black the second most affluent ad-supported cable drama behind AMC’s Mad Men.
Orphan Black is produced by Temple Street Productions in association with BBC America and Bell Media’s Space.