12:13pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Breaking Amish' Spinoff Gets a Slow Start
TV's unexpected Amish trend may have already peaked. Breaking Amish: Brave New World, TLC's spinoff originally planned as a sophomore season of last year's ratings hit, opened to lackluster returns on Sunday night.
The one-hour opener averaged 2.14 million viewers and a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49. The returns come in shy of any broadcast of last year's Breaking Amish, TLC's top freshman performer that averaged 3.2 million viewers over the course of its season.
STORY: Breaking Amish: Brave New World
Breaking Amish closed its initial run with the November 13 finale netting a 1.7 adults rating and 3.8 million viewers. The return marks a steep drop of 44 percent.
TLC switched gears on Breaking Amish during the break between the two seasons. Controversy surrounding the authenticity of the cast member's experience since departing Amish and Mennonite communities, which likely helped buoy ratings in the fall, led to a season two pickup that was eventually re-purposed into a spinoff starring the original group.
The parent series will return later in 2013 with an entirely new cast. And Sunday's softer returns won't likely dampen its prospects at the network. Brave New World still ranked as cable's second-best demo performer on Sunday, behind only Game of Thrones in original offerings. It also built on its lead-in from steady TLC standby Long Island Medium.
Last year saw a boom in Amish-related programming with NatGeo's Amish: Out of Order and Discovery's Amish Mafia also joining the schedule. DIY Network recently jumped on the trend with Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.