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AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” Premiere Bombs in the Ratings

When it comes to ratings, the series premiere of AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” was not particularly hot.

Sunday’s opener delivered a paltry 0.34 adults 18-49 rating with 1.2 million total viewers. While it built slightly on its “Turn” lead-in (0.29 rating, 1.2 million viewers), its performance trailed the 0.53 rating and 2.1 million viewers posted by that show’s series premiere.

And if it follows the same downward trajectory as “Turn,” it could be in scary territory by the end of the season.

Forgetting that it is a frequently used strategy to increase buzz ahead of a series premiere, some analysts are blaming the low rating on the pilot’s premature availability.

While there is obviously truth to the notion that potential “Halt and Catch Fire” viewers had seen the premiere ahead of Sunday’s broadcast, history raises doubt about whether the actual impact on ratings was significant. Many shows have been screened ahead of their broadcast launches, and virtually none posted abysmal ratings in week one before posting blockbuster ratings in future weeks.

There is little reason to believe the “Halt” premiere would have garnered monster ratings had the pilot not been distributed early.

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