The post-apocalypse martial arts drama got a cable top tier debut from having the biggest show on TV as its lead-in but now things have changed – kind of. After three weeks with The Walking Dead as its programming predecessor, Into The Badlands had to get in the ratings ring alone this week and it had a solid performance for AMC.
The ‘Two Tigers Subdue Dragons’ episode of December 6 saw the war drums beating very loud on the Daniel Wu- starring show. While no blockbuster, the fourth episode of ITB also saw 2.4 million total viewers with 1.35 million among adults 18-49 for a 1.06 rating. That’s a drop of 54% among viewers and 56% in the key demo from Badlands’ November 29 episode. While a significant decline, a couple of things need to be noted for context – 1. Last week’s ITB aired right after the midseason finale of TWD, which was the second-highest-rated episode of the zombie apocalypse series of its sixth season so far. Secondly, as had happened in previous weeks, a TWD sneak peek was embedded in the first commercial break of ITB, drawing tons of fans into the show to, in this case, see a preview of the rest of the big show’s Season 6.
Also, that’s a decline of just 6% more in viewers and 4% in the demo than Better Call Saul had for its second show of February 9, a Monday, after debuting to record numbers for AMC the night before after TWD.
Even without TWD, Into The Badlands ended up being the third-highest-rated original cable show of Sunday night, bested only by reality heavyweights The Real Housewives Of Atlanta and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. And that’s with a lead-in of last weeks’ ITB as part of a mini-marathon into the December 6 new episode – a 9 PM ET lead-in that got just 531,000 viewers in the 18-49. Long story short – even without TWD, ITB is alive and kicking for the remaining half of its 6-episode first season. With ITB commonly getting around a 30% life in Live + 3 numbers, delayed viewing results could be the key to how hard that kick really is.