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AMC's Power Programs 'The Walking Dead' And 'Better Call Saul' Return Down, But Not Out

AMC's Power Programs 'The Walking Dead' And 'Better Call Saul' Return Down, But Not Out

Over President's Day weekend, AMC Networks Inc (NASDAQ: AMCX) debuted the mid-season premiere of "The Walking Dead's" sixth season and the second season premiere of "Better Call Saul," with each returning slightly down in the ratings.

It's easy to look at the numbers for the pair and harp on them being lower, but investors need to know that neither drop is much cause for alarm. Then again, it is hard to forget that when "Walking" slipped in the ratings over the first half of its new season last fall, so did the stock price.

The market had a severe over-reaction to the first-half numbers as with time-shifting data factored in "Walking" rose back to its usual levels. On Sunday, "Walking's" return pulled in 13.7 million viewers overall and a 6.8 rating in the demo, which year-to-year is down 12 percent in viewers and 15 percent in the demo. Then again, compare that to its broadcast TV brethren and that 6.8 rating still outperforms both "The Big Bang Theory" and "Empire."

Related Link: AMC Networks Extends Talk-Show Portfolio With "Talking Saul" And "Geeking Out"

Given the show's mid-season return was up against the NBA All-Star Game and fell on Valentine's Day, it's easy to see why the numbers declined here. Similarly, "Saul" took on the Grammys, which is no small feat.

Yet in "Saul's" case, while the year-to-year numbers from its series premiere may be down, it's finale-to-premiere numbers were up. The season one capper saw 2.53 million viewers and the season two opener drew 2.57 million viewers. It's also important to note that the only show on cable to earn more viewers overall or in the 18–49 demo Monday night was USA's juggernaut "WWE Monday Night RAW."

It's also not fair to compare the season premiere of "Saul's" second season to what was the series premiere of its first episode a year ago. The first episode of any show is typically always higher because of sampling. In fact, "Saul's" series debut was also fueled by a "Walking Dead" lead-in, which helped "Saul" set a cable ratings milestone (which was broken only by the series debut of network sibling "Fear The Walking Dead").

Both shows are expected to see additional rises when the +3/+7 data is released in the coming days.

Image Credit: Public Domain


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