‘The Killing’ ratings: Proof that not all publicity is good publicity?

A new investigation begins.

Sometimes in this industry, people tend to think that controversy is a good thing. After all, it gets people talking about your show, and it mobilizes social media in a way that creates the sort of buzz you can’t pay for.

Of course, this buzz isn’t a good thing if most of the people talking about your show are spewing hatred over a creative decision — such as what happened with “The Killing” after its first season. We haven’t seen very many people turn on a show so quickly as they did when Rosie Larsen’s killer was not revealed during the season 1 finale, and showrunner Veena Sud’s defense of the move (which often bordered on the same sort of showrunner arrogance we’ve seen from many in the industry lately) didn’t help matters at all.

Now, the numbers are in, and the season 2 premiere Sunday was down from the finale, scoring a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic (weak these days by AMC standards for original series) along with 1.8 million viewers. So should we treat these numbers as a surefire sign that the show is failing? Not entirely, since there are still DVR figures to be considered on a night that contained the ACM Awards, the “Game of Thrones” premiere, and plenty of new episodes elsewhere. There was also the issue that the show was two hours, which is a far longer commitment than many want to make for live TV when they can record it down to about an hour and a half.

We’ll stand by this when it comes to “The Killing” until we are blue in the face — it’s a stellar reinvention of the mystery, and we actually had no problem with the killer not being revealed last year. It’s instead with the promotional faux pas that led viewers to believe that there would be some resolution during season 1 to the Larsen murder, when producers could have steered viewers away from that being a certainty more than they did. (This is why the show likely decided to inform everyone that Larsen’s murderer would be revealed at the end of season 2.)

Watching TV is largely about expectations these days — just look at how angry “Pretty Little Liars” fans were when they found out that Mona was “A.” Why? She was “A” in the book, and viewers were hoping for a bigger surprise and even expected one based on the hype from the show itself. Like “The Killing,” the buzz here now is not entirely good, and we expect the premiere numbers this June when “PLL” returns to reflect that.

Why do you think “The Killing” premiered lower than both the season 1 finale and the series premiere?

Photo: AMC

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