Facing the first coast-to-coast live Billboard Music Awards, NBA and NHL playoffs and a little show you might have heard of called Game Of Thrones, AMC had a busy Sunday night with the first midseason finale of Fear The Walking Dead and the premiere of Preacher.
On the whole, the former home of Mad Men held up OK with The Walking Dead spinoff series steady with its Season 2 May 15 show and the Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin EP’d adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s award-winning comic series pulling enough of its weight. As the third most watched show on cable on May 22 after the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Game 3 and Game Of Thrones, the “Shiva” episode of FearTWD drew 4.4 million total viewers and 2.41 million among adults 18-49 on May 22. While down from the 6.86 million that the Robert Kirkman- and Dave Erickson-created series had for its cable-topping Season 1 finale on October 4 last year, the seventh episode of Season 2 and FearTWD’s first midseason ender was almost exactly on par with the 4.5 million viewers and 2.5 million key demo audience of the week before. Overall, with a 1.9 rating in the demo, those numbers have been the average range for the last five episodes of what will be a 15-episode second season after Season 1’s 6-episode run.
Of course, AMC is all about the Live + 3 ratings in today’s environment and to that end last week’s FearTWD numbers looking encouraging. The May 15 offering went up 51% in total viewers over its Live + Same Day numbers to 6.8 million in L+3 results and 62% in the 18-49s to 4 million. This season so far, Fear The Walking Dead is the second-highest-rated series on ad-supported cable in not just the 18-49s, but also the 25-54s – behind its mother ship show, of course. FearTWD returns for the rest of its second season on August 21.
Launching off the FearTWD midseason finale at 10 PM ET, the heavily promoted Preacher pulled in 2.4 million total viewers with 1.1 million among adults 18-49. While a modest overall viewership debut compared to the 6.39 million Into The Badlands snared in its November 15 launch after an episode of The Walking Dead, Preacher’s 0.9 key demo results make it the second-best scripted series debut of 2016, behind FX’s also highly promoted The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’s 2.0 on February 2. In closer context, the 90-minute Preacher opener dropped 53% from its lead-in on Sunday night.
With faith in hand, AMC will re-play the Preacher premiere on its now regular 9 PM slot before going back to original eps on June 5, with fellow newbie Feed The Beast as a lead-out. Trying to build up a congregation digitally as well, the cabler has made Preacher’s opening ep available for free online on its mobile app and via Apple TV.
Live + 3 numbers for Preacher may give us a greater gospel on the series and are expected later this week.