The trip back to the future on Sunday did not attract a lot of initial passengers it seems. The Season 2 premiere of the 1980s set Halt And Catch Fire on May 31 on AMC drew a total of 659,000 viewers with 262,000 among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. Compared to the results for H&CF’s 10 PM June 1, 2014 debut, Sunday’s Season 2 ratings were down 45% in overall viewers for AMC and 39% among the 18-49s. However, on the flipside, the Season 2 debut results of the dawn of the digital age series are up 15% in total viewers and the key demo in Live + Same Day numbers from the show’s August 3 Season 1 finale of last year.
Also, on a night that saw a rising Game Of Thrones on HBO dominating cable with 7 million viewers overall and 4.4 million in the 18-49 demo at 9 PM, AMC actually may not feel that H&CF’s results were a hardware or software crash. For one thing, unlike last year, H&CF Season 2 debut didn’t have the advantage of a well-watched original Turn lead-in like the Season 1 launch did last year, which was also released online for two weeks before its launch to attract attention. There was no such multi-platform tactic this year and the S2 premiere of the tech series was preceded on Sunday by a broadcast of 2001’s Jurassic Park III.
Perhaps more importantly to AMC, the real juice for the cabler in the Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers-created series has been in DVR afterlife where H&CF has seen frequent power surges. On average, Season 1 of H&CF went up 63% in total viewers, 72% among adults 18-49 and 73% among adults 25-54 in Live + 3 numbers. Even with that fortnight of previews online, the S1 debut of H&CF went up 45% in total viewers, 53% in the 18-49s and 46% in the 25-54s. Add to that Halt & Catch Fire‘s second and third episodes saw lifts of over 100% in their 18-49 demo in Live + 3 ratings and you get while AMC is all about the H&CF DVR world. Looking at the most recent airing of the series before Sunday’s S2 debut, the Season 1 finale saw a jump of 71% in total viewers in Live + 3 ratings, a 67% rise in the 18-49s and a 75% rise in adults 25-54 to 482,000.