In the end there was a battle with a baron, secrets revealed and a whole lot of setup for a second season on the Season 1 finale of AMC’s Into The Badlands. On a competitive night of other cable finales, Sunday Night Football and the Miss Universe pageant, the last show of the postapocalyptic martial arts series’ first season stumbled from its fifth episode of December 13. However, that penultimate episode kicked it up a notch in delayed viewing for Badlands – a sign of where Sunday’s finale might end up.
In total viewers, the December 20 ITB drew an audience of 2.2 million, with 1.1 million among adults 18-49 for a 0.83 rating. That is essentially the same as the 2.21 million for the series’ December 13 episode. In the key demo, the season finale saw a 13% drop in the 18-49 rating.
Obviously that’s a significant drop for the Daniel Wu-starring ITB from the near-dizzying heights of its November 15 debut. Airing right after a rising The Walking Dead, the inaugural ITB pulled in 6.4 million viewers and 3.99 million among 18-49s for a 3.15 rating. With increases of 29% in viewership and 28% in the demo in Live+3, the premiere of ITB ended up being the third-best cable debut ever – behind fellow AMCers Fear The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul.
Since the TWD winter finale of November 29, ITB has had to go without the biggest show on TV as its lead-in and the teases planted in its commercial breaks. With the expected drops of more than 50% in viewership and demo, the show has stayed pretty stable in both categories since. Sunday’s finale matches the previous week for a season low for ITB.
AMC, like several other cablers, doesn’t like to emphasize Live+Same Day numbers – well, maybe those TWD results. However, there might be a deeper satisfaction in the DVR ratings they receive. Certainly that was true for the second-to-last episode of ITB’s first season. Shooting up to 3.6 million total viewers and 2.1 million among the 18-49s, the December 13 “Snake Creeps Down“ episode hit Live+3 highs for a show that has a definitely strong digital afterlife. Those delayed viewing numbers saw a 63% and 69% lift from the Live+SD results.
We likely won’t have the full-season Live+3 numbers until after the holiday, but over its first five episodes, Into The Badlands averaged 5.7 million viewers and 3.4 million among adults 18-49. That’s punching up.