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“Orphan Black” Premiere Ratings; Viewership Falls Despite Buzz

You might have correctly guessed Helena would return, but there is no way you predicted this.

Viewership for Saturday’s season two “Orphan Black” premiere actually trailed that of last spring’s series premiere.

Despite all the binge-watching, all the newfound media attention, all the buzz over the show’s rich narrative and all the raves over Tatiana Maslany’s performance, BBC America’s “Orphan Black” could only garner a nightly audience of 785,000 viewers for its season premiere.

620,000 tuned into the initial broadcast at 9PM.

The March 30, 2013 series premiere, which aired sans any of those advantages (albeit with significant lead-in support from “Doctor Who”), attracted a nightly audience of 1.026 million. The initial 9PM airing hooked 684,000 viewers.

While the season two premiere lacked the same caliber of “Doctor Who” lead-in support, it was expected to be enough of a self-starter to deliver improved ratings anyway.

On the positive front, Saturday’s second season premiere did attract a series high audience in the adults 18-49 demographic. According to BBC America, the 9PM airing doubled the show’s season one average by reaching 391,000 in the adults 18-49 demographic. The number was up slightly from that set by the March 2013 series premiere.

Still, given the momentum “Orphan Black” seemed to possess going into Saturday’s premiere, a modest premiere-to-premiere uptick in the adults 18-49 demographic is not impressive. And a decline in total viewership is irrefutably disappointing.

Clearly not positioned to become a cable megahit, “Orphan Black” is still a strong performer by BBC America’s standards (it is now the number two performer behind “Doctor Who”). It can also recover from the underwhelming premiere performance by maintaining its ratings throughout the season. Season one’s average performance considerably trailed that of the series premiere.

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]


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