There was a distinctly disturbing hookup on the midseason return of The Walking Dead and a poignant cameo on the long overdue season premiere of Better Call Saul. All of which saw AMC’s two heaviest hitters back with improved ratings from their last outings.
Now, with a 1.2 rating among adults 18-49 and 3.5 million viewers, the beginning of the second part of TWD’s 10th season is actually the lowest midseason return the zombie apocalypse series has ever had. Down 40% in the key demo from the previous midseason low of the Grammys battling February 10 2019 Season 9 return, the show based on Robert Kirkman’s now concluded comics was caught in a dangerous cave, literally and figuratively.
Still, even with a 31% slide in total viewers, TWD’s Season 10 return was up 9% over its November 24 2019 fall finale in total audience and 17% among the 18-49. All of which was the best performance the now Norman Reedus-led series has had since its Season 10 premiere on the long ago days of October 6 last year.
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And, if you want to talk a long long long time ago, that would be the last time we saw a season premiere of Better Call Saul.
After an 18-month absence and a certain El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie on Netflix, the delightful Bob Odenkirk spinoff of the Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul meth-fueled mothershow also returned on Sunday night.
In what was the first of a two might premiere and with a short appearance by the late and great Robert Forester, Better Call Saul’s Season 5 opener snagged 1.6 million viewers and a 0.49 rating in the 18-49s.
That’s the lowest any BCS premiere has even done, both in audience and the key demo. However, even with the 18% drop from the Season 4 debut, there’s some mitigating circumstances to factor in.
One, the Season 4 Better Call Saul was way back on August 6, 2018 – virtually another era in TV. Secondly, with the TWD lead-in on February 23, BCS was steady with its Season 4 finale of October 8, 2018 in viewers and up 10% in the demo. Thirdly, and this is of course increasingly true of TWD too, Better Call Saul has a great digital afterlife with delayed viewership often jumping in the high double digits.
That’s the small screen in 2020, deal with it. BTW, TWD still remains the top show on ad-supported cable, fact. And if you didn’t see that intimate exchange on the show, let me make some broad strokes – Negan. Alpha.
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