In the shadow of 'Breaking Bad,' 'Low Winter Sun' never stood a chance

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Image Credit: Alicia Gbur/AMC

Only in its second week, Low Winter Sun already seems to be on its way out. Sunday night’s episode brought in 1.467 million viewers with a rating of .5 for adults ages 18-49, down from 2.5 million viewers and a 1.1 rating last week. It’s a sudden decline, and one that might not be the show’s fault.

From day one, Low Winter Sun has been not-so-subtly marketed as the next Breaking Bad. The poster reveals a bald man looking serious and reads “Good man. Cop. Killer.” Get it? It’s a good guy gone bad, just like Walter White. And in the promos for the show, we see that the killing is all about family. Again, not unlike Walt. Oh, did we mention that the killer has an accomplice we’re not sure he can trust? Also, hey, Gale!

At first glance, it makes sense to market Low Winter Sun this way. AMC knows that the audience that will be most likely to watch will be those who don’t change the channel after Breaking Bad, so why not give them another dark drama to enjoy, right? Wrong. It’s one thing to market a show as something similar, and it’s something else to market it as a sort of replacement. Perhaps that wasn’t AMC’s intention, but Breaking Bad is on the way out, so that’s how it comes across.

Then there’s also the argument that you don’t want to put the pressure of being the “next Breaking Bad” on any show. It’s not as if Breaking Bad is the kind of thing that comes around every fall. It’s one of the greats. It’s like claiming something will be the next The Wire. You don’t do it.

And finally, by making viewers watch a substantial portion of Low Winter Sun in order to see the preview for the next Breaking Bad episode, quite frankly, AMC is making viewers angry. Therefore, viewers dislike the show before they even watch it, because they’re being forced to do so. If they were given a chance to watch it on their own and judge freely, perhaps this sudden drop in ratings wouldn’t be happening.

This marketing plan is why Low Winter Sun, good or bad, never stood a chance.

But what do you think, PopWatchers? Are you watching? Does Low Winter Sun deserve to survive past Breaking Bad? Let us know!


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