Even with a prime spot following the popular Breaking Bad, AMC's Low Winter Sun is simply not attracting viewers.
Vulture's Josef Adalian reports that the show's audience of adult viewers under the age of 50 dropped by more than half between its first and second episodes, and overall the show lost a million viewers in its first week. (Only 1.5 million tuned into the sophomore outing.) Nor is the show's lead-in, the critically-acclaimed Breaking Bad, convincing couch potatoes to stay tuned to network and take the show for a test drive: Viewers are still changing the channel. "This week's Bad averaged a 2.4 rating in adults under 50, which means the 0.5 LWS notched was barely 20 percent of the rating scored by Bad," Adalian writes. (Low Winter Sun also wasn't particularly well received by critics, but tides do have a tendency to turn for AMC shows at least when it comes to critical reception—remember what early reviews for Breaking Bad and Mad Men looked like.)
The failure of the Detroit crime drama serves as a reminder that the much-admired AMC doesn't have the Midas touch with everything in the TV marketplace. Though Bad achieved ratings glory (some 5.9 million viewers tuned in for its midseason return) and The Walking Dead has broken cable records, an association with the cable channel does not equal a surefire hit: Federal intelligence agency drama Rubicon, which premiered in 2010, suffered from low ratings, despite critical praise, and was canceled after one season. The Killing, despite a strong start, had to return from the dead to get a third season after being canceled. As for Mad Men, well, years of media hype and a million chin-scratching blog analyses don't seem to have made a difference: As our own Richard Lawson wrote when last season's premiere attracted 3.4 million viewers: "more people watched Wife Swap last week than watched Mad Men Sunday night." What would Don Draper say?