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A Lot Of You Apparently Aren't Watching 'Luther.' Why Not?

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
September 5, 2013 6:13 PM
82 Comments
  • |
Luther Season 3

As I said to my S&A cohorts, it doesn't appear that the Stateside audience for the acclaimed BBC series Luther (starring Idris Elba) is as strong as I thought it would be by now, halfway through its 3rd season, especially given the excitement generated over the series, across the blogosphere - specifically the black blogosphere.

Or is the excitement over Idris Elba, and not necessarily the series he stars in? Isn't this the kind of TV content a lot of us have been asking for?

The numbers for Tuesday's season 3 premiere episode are out, and they aren't as impressive as I expected them to be.

206,000 viewers tuned in on Tuesday night at 10pm, to watch the return of the *mental* detective. While it's a healthy increase from the 168,000 who tuned in to watch Luther’s season 2 debut, I expected the numbers this year would be much higher than 206,000 viewers - especially when compared to the series' season 3 premiere in the UK in July. 5 million UK viewers tuned in, compared to the 206,000 Stateside! Although that 5 million in the UK was actually the lowest for a season premiere in the show’s 3-season history - some 600,000 viewers less than the last episode which aired in 2011.

So while viewership in the UK fell, it actually rose here in the USA, which is good I suppose. However, I'm not pleased with that 206,000 figure. As I said, I expected more. Certainly not 5 million, but a lot more than 206,000. If Tyler Perry's The Haves & The Have Nots can attract a record 2.6 million viewers during its season finale earlier this week, on the OWN network, surely, Luther can do better than 10% of what Perry's series did? 

10%!

So what gives here guys? Who's watching and who's not? If you're not watching, why not, especially since there always seems to be a lot of excitement over the series whenever we write about it. Luther was one of the top 10 most popular topics discussed on this blog in 2012.

I checked BBC America's reach, to make sure that the channel is actually available on cable and satellite TV providers in the USA, and, according to the network's website, it available in 94.7 million households. So it's not like it's one of those new networks with a limited presence. To compare, the OWN network is available in 84 million households.

Worth noting is that BBC America had its highest rated telecast of all time, with the season 7 premiere of Doctor Who last September (2012), which drew 2.47 million viewers. The final season's premiere episode of Luther drew less than 10% of that number.

Ouch.

One thing I did note in a previous post is that I was really surprised that the BBC chose to wait 2 full months after the series' UK run this year, to broadcast it in the USA. That, to me, in this age of access-anything-anytime-anywhere demand for content, was an odd decision. 

As I noted, I anticipated piracy, as all of season 3's episodes did find their way online, on several video sharing sites, after they aired in the UK, and before they reached USA TV. And, in talking to some folks here in the USA, they watched the entire season online, because they didn't want to wait the 2 months for it to air on BBC America. Distributors and exhibitors of content simply just can't afford to delay the release of, or expect audiences to wait 2 months for something that's already been broadcast elsewhere. It's practically a lifetime in terms of content distribution in this century.

If you recall, what the UK's Channel 4 and the show's producers did with another hot British TV series, Misfits, was to make every episode available to USA audiences within 24 hours after they aired in the UK.

If lots of folks in the USA watched Luther online before it officially aired on television, they don't have much incentive to watch it again, do they, now that it's being broadcast on BBC America, for USA audiences.

Of course I can't say with any certainty that piracy accounted for the lower-than-expected (by me) numbers. And I doubt that the number of people who watched the series online, before its BBC America debut, was significant enough to raise that 206,000 higher, if they didn't watch it online.

But it's something worth noting as maybe 1 of a handful of potential factors.

With numbers like these, I can understand, in part, why a 4th season is unlikely. 

To make another comparison to a popular British TV series import, Downton Abbey drew a whopping 7 to 8 million per episode last season. Granted Downton is a much more popular series, and it airs on PBS, a network with wider notoriety, reaching 90% of all US television households. Although BBC America reaches 70%, so not an immense difference.

With numbers like 206,000 for a season premiere, it doesn't give me a lot of hope for the announced feature film that Elba and Luther creator Neil Cross want to make.

But maybe I'm just missing something, and don't have all the information in this case. So, I'd love to read your thoughts.

Are most of you watching it after its broadcast? Maybe you're DVRing it, and watching it on your own time? Are you watching it online? Are you just not watching at all?

Enlighten me.

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82 Comments

  • Ayor Wale | February 8, 2014 8:46 PMReply

    Contrasting the American viewing response of, “Luther” and “Tyler Perry’s” work is quite telling, as is the query of, “where are the black women?” Welcome to America, BBC, where, “race” comes with fries and gets, “super-sized.”. What makes Luther such a great production is, it’s incredible writers, who layer stories, plots, characters and the superb, choreographed cinema photography that rivals what we viewed throughout MI-5. The contrast of British actors who actually play into the camera and carry an audience with compelling skill and conviction that one might normally only expect see on stage; compared to American productions, that lack character development and few actors who actually have to act, remember lengthy dialogues, owing to most edits occurring every, 3-6 seconds. The, “appetite of consumption” for much of American media is very likened to its consumption of fast foods and we know how addictive that is. As a black male writing, I’m impressed only by the caliber of Idris’s acting ability as rivaling the many other outstanding British actors such as the early work of, “Sherlock.” Unfortunately, there are so many answers to your questions as reflected in the comments. I myself viewed, Luther on Netflix and was not even aware of its premiere on PBS. Luther was recommended to me by a teaching colleague but a quarter of the way through the first episode, it appeared so violent and dark that I tuned out and only revisited it about a year later after having watched, Four Lions, MI-5, Prisoners Wives, Endeavor and many other quality British shows [and anything with, Helen Mirren..:). I also feel, Luther could have been a black woman, with no black men around and again, based on, “her” ability to carry the story’s character is all that matters and it can not be overlooked that Luther is not alone and is supported by a cast of actors each feeding off of each other and “wearing” their characters so believably. I must be careful, I live her but American TV has become quite mindless, meaningless and devoid of real esthetics and unfortunately, will pander to race, gender or any other politically correct note of the day. When you abandon all that garbage and begin to watch, “Luther,” one is able to appreciate the meticulous lighting, different focal length lenses used and angles, the manipulation of saturation to maintain that flat muted tonality, as well as, the beautiful, “cityscapes” and British architecture, so carefully used to transition with. Thank you PBS and BBC for giving me a reason to continue to watch American TV, with shows like, Doc Martin, Downton Abby, unfortunately, “Sherlock” succumbed to its own initial intrigue.

  • Mick | February 3, 2014 10:44 AMReply

    Excellent show only just started watching it recently. Started watching it on Netflix and it only goes up as far as season 2. Going to try and get season 3 online somewhere else.

    He plays John Luther brilliantly love the character, but was disappointed with how little Alice Morgan was in it in 2nd season she's a great character very funny in a weird way. Looking forward to seeing the last four episodes, don't think they're making a new season though.

  • Dan | February 1, 2014 12:59 PMReply

    Screw network tv's and their ridiculous rating requirement. Netflix should grab Luther :)

  • Matt | January 26, 2014 9:07 PMReply

    Personally myself and everyone I know thought from various articles post season 2 that there would be no season 3 ordered. When they started airing season 3 none of us heard about it until the s3 finale was airing and by then we didn't want to watch it until we saw the others! I think it has more to do with just not knowing it was happening!

  • Sam | January 12, 2014 9:49 PMReply

    If you add hola to chrome you should be able to watch it on bbc iplayer

  • Sam | January 12, 2014 9:49 PMReply

    If you add hola to chrome you should be able to watch it on bbc iplayer

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Bethany Harris | January 12, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    When will season 3 be uploaded on Netflix??????????

  • Johanna | January 8, 2014 5:30 PMReply

    I love Stringer Bell but have trouble with his British accent (joke). Seriously, I am watching it on demand on TWC (Entertainment on demand channel) but like all the BBC-A channels, it's formatted on the screen in reduced size that cuts out the CC (which was the only way I could watch the Wire as well). It's really hard for us Yanks to catch much of the dialogue which is quite frustrating and I imagine would discourage many.

  • kara | January 29, 2014 2:17 PM

    i love stringer bell too ive just finished the wire all 5 seasons devasted when he got shot......then i heard he was in luther watched it all for the last 2 days on netflix cant wait for season 3 to be on

  • Nikole | January 3, 2014 4:38 PMReply

    I love Luther. I've been waiting for Netflix to upload it. Please produce a 4th season!

  • Taryn | December 28, 2013 9:47 AMReply

    I live in the states and LOVE this show! I've only seen it on Netflix because I didn't think it was aired here. Checking my cable provider now for BBC America... Need more advertising for this show

  • Lauren | November 19, 2013 1:20 AMReply

    I absolutely love Luther and live in the states but only watch it on Netflix. Quite frankly I had no idea it was even available on television here and believed Netflix was my only option. Patiently awaiting them to even have season 3. But I think a 40,000 viewer increase is good news particularly given the fact that the prior season only contained four episodes. What other shows up their viewership that much with such little content?

  • Kathax | November 15, 2013 2:29 PMReply

    I'm from the uk and live in the uk. Luther pulling 5.6 mil viewers is a big number. To the person who said 'most people in the uk don't have cable or satellite' erm maybe 25 years ago! I don't know anyone who doesn't have cable or satellite tv! Most people have access to over 200 channels so Luther pulling 5.6 mil in a nation of 60million is a big number. I struggle to understand why stand out shows aren't picked up by bigger stations (rather than the British pet peeve of remakes) In the uk HBO shows are on Sky Atlantic or FOX (weirdly). I hear the 'accents are tricky to understand' but in the uk we get most US shows and don't have issues with accents! I find it hilarious that a US show subtitles the Robertsons in Duck Dynasty! Luther is a fantastic show, one of the great police dramas of recent years. Luther and Sherlock both amazing BBC shows.

  • Vince Bishop | November 9, 2013 2:54 PMReply

    We didn't know season 3 was airing until the last 30 minutes of the last episode. It wasn't advertised at all.

  • Q | November 6, 2013 10:35 PMReply

    It's easily available for download on torrent sites, direct downloads etc. If you can use the Internet you can download the show.. no need to wait on Netflix or whatever.

  • Gayle | November 6, 2013 10:11 PMReply

    We love Luther
    Love him. Love the show

  • Linda S | October 28, 2013 3:57 PMReply

    How did I miss this???? Now have to wait for Netflix.....

  • Mary | October 16, 2013 12:18 PMReply

    I love Luther and watched both previous seasons on BBC Canada, even PVR'd it so my daughter could watch. I was looking forward to season 3, but here in Canada... wasn't even an option, NEVER aired on BBC Canada. I am so disappointed...enjoyed the show and love Idris Elba and the other characters.

  • Kelly J | September 30, 2013 6:41 PMReply

    Wife love the show.
    Word of mouth drew us to i
    in netflix. n
    We watched seasons 1 and 2. Then waited A
    for season 3 on BBC America via U-verse.
    But neither Luther, Sherlock, nor Downtown Abbey
    were advertised or shown on our cable provider.
    Annoyed and disappointed. (So now we're waiting
    for 3 to show up on Netflix.)

  • Dankwa Brooks | September 14, 2013 9:02 AMReply

    Well I knew I would binge-watch it because I binge-watch everything, but I wanted to watch ALL FOUR episodes at one time. Couldn't so I split it and just finished the last two yesterday.

  • Anthony | September 12, 2013 2:30 AMReply

    "Enlighten me" - Ok. Notoriety is used incorrectly. Definition: "the state of being famous or well known for some bad quality or deed" PBS is notorious? You get paid to write?

    Next, the show isn't doing huge numbers in the U.S. for a number of straightforward reasons. First, contrary to your belief, not that many people know about it. Idris Elba is certainly a star in the black community but are black people regularly watching BBC America? Doubtful. Elba is a rising star and a phenomenal actor. He'll be big soon, perhaps for playing Mandela. Also, Luther is very dark and for some Americans the accents are tough. Two big strikes against the show. I lived in London for a year so the accents don't bother me, I like dark, "heady" shows, and I'll take the time to really search for good programming. This is hardly the profile of the bulk of Americans. The BBC has a huge audience because a lot of people don't have cable or satellite thus there are only a handful of channels to watch. So even with a relatively small population in comparison to the U.S., shows can pull in huge numbers.

  • Dee | September 9, 2013 3:29 PMReply

    I have checked it out, no spoilers...but very good. I think there were communication and promotion problems with the networks. There are many of people who don't read up or follow blogs to know about the show. BBC did not do much to promote the program either. In my area I have Comcast which offers (On Demand) more than likely ppl will tune in at there convenience. So sad to see it go!

  • SCp | September 8, 2013 6:57 AMReply

    I have to admit, like the other readers who posted, Netflix is where I get my dose of "Luther." Maybe someone should ask them for their numbers from the previous season!

  • Lou | September 8, 2013 1:34 AMReply

    Never heard of the show until Netflix. The first ep didn't grab me. I put it in my queue to watch later. Besides that, I don't even know what channel this comes on in America. Doesn't help that there are no commercials for the show. At least with Tyler Perry's show they are advertising the show on VARIOUS channels. TBS, OWN, and the basic cable channel it originally aired on. Luther has no presence hence its little viewership. I haven't seen Downtown Abbey but I've heard nothing but glowing reviews of the show. Someone should tell Idris to promote his show along with his films. Just a thought.

  • Courtney | September 7, 2013 7:51 PMReply

    They, and I mean the BBC did not do a good job to promote it. Why am I just learning it was on? See what I mean, I MISSED THE VIEWING!

  • G-Ladi | September 7, 2013 6:36 PMReply

    I will be so disappointed if Luther is discontinued because it is a very good show. This country has no time for anything of quality. Their idea of quality is homer simpson or stuey from family guy...smdh.

  • SLD | September 6, 2013 7:10 PMReply

    Many of us are sick of pay TV but we have Netflix. We are waiting...

  • Courtney | September 7, 2013 7:52 PM

    This statement is so true! I hate TWC and their monopoly. So...Netfix it is in my home!

  • Ava | September 6, 2013 6:48 PMReply

    Since I don't subscribe to Cable nor Satellite, I will have to wait until Luther gets to Netflix, which is the way I watched previously. I know I know...but I am generally disciplined at avoiding all Spoilers and with the way life has been going for me lately, having the time to search out story-lines won't be possible anyway.
    Hopefully for everyone else that has access to BBC America, though, the numbers will pick up...hopefully.

  • TheBlackTinaFey | September 6, 2013 4:10 PMReply

    Totally annoyed that I did not hear about the Season 3 premiere. I am blaming this on shoddy marketing. Huge "Luther" fan. Loved S.1 and S.2. A friend called me when S.3 began and I couldn't find it anywhere... only to find out he was talking about the UK version and he watches in online... I don't do piracy. So, I told him I would have to wait until it premiered in the U.S. Saw Facebook posts because it's Idris Elba's birthday. Saw someone post about Luther. Came to Shadow and Act to see if you had posted anything and voila. Was offline yesterday b/c of the Jewish Holiday. But am totally peeved I am just hearing about it AND they are running the four episodes back to back which is phenomenal. Crappy marketing.

  • DCFrank | September 6, 2013 3:44 PMReply

    Actually, I have been watching and sharing with friends, the word just hasn't gotten out and by it being a BBC channel network (So to speak), I think a lot of folks don't know or realize how to get to it. We actually go to on On Demand (Comcast), and watched past two seasons and the recent show last night.

    I think its a great show full of mystery, weird people, intelligent, gritty....and moves along, not a lot of long drawn out scenes, it jumps from one scene or moment to the next. Luther, losing his wife was dramatic, then to have some new detective come in and try and get Luther fired....takes on a whole new twist. But what a smart detective Luther presents wit, a high level of intelligence and the in your face attitude overwhelms whoever is trying to play against him.

    I also like the fact the Luther (the main character) carries no weapon.....a black man using his brain as a weapon, it inspires me...to re-think how I deal with human beings in my daily life of living.

    Thanks for the opportunity to voice my opinion.....and hope this show gets picked up by somebody to carry on or at least get the word out "advertise" this show better.

    Thanks Frank

  • ALM | September 6, 2013 3:41 PMReply

    I noticed you mentioned the reach of the network, but I have several family members in an area where OWN is a part of their cable package, but BBC America is not. My guess is that BBC America may be offered as part of the ultra premium cable (the $90 a month plus cable) in some areas. In that case, it is offered, but people may not feel the need to pay that extra $25 a month for the ultimate tier cable.

    Maybe BBC America needs to pull a move like the one ABC pulled with "Scandal", i.e. reairing episodes of "Luther" on TVOne on Sunday nights.

  • Amari | September 6, 2013 3:39 PMReply

    Though I understand many on this site aren't fond of Tyler Perry, must you really put his programs and work down every chance you get?

    As for Luther, honestly it just doesn't seem that interesting to me. Idris Elba doesn't appeal to me, no matter how cheeky he seems to be in interviews, and I find limited appeal in crime dramas.

  • Me | September 6, 2013 3:39 PMReply

    I was a huge fan, but it took too long for the return. Life goes on. I will, however, watch it On Demand, when I get a moment.

  • somebody | September 6, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    I just discovered I even had access to Luther on On Demand and just started watching Season 1. I just so happened to start following Shadow and Act on Facebook to even know the third season was starting. I think part of the issue is access or lack of knowledge about how to get access and marketing.

  • Mimi | September 6, 2013 1:46 PMReply

    I am trying to get caught up with Seasons 1 and 2 right now. I have seen the first two episodes of Season 1, and I totally get why he got a Golden Globe. There is a Russian Roulette scene that literally had me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath!

    Between this show and Orphan Black, I am really loving what BBC America is bringing!

  • patrick jones | September 6, 2013 1:18 PMReply

    Why did they play it all in one week? I knew when it premiered, set my dvr and watched the first episode two days later only to find out I had missed the second episode! Also, most people I know don't even get BBCA, I have to pay a premium just to see it.

  • donnadara | September 6, 2013 1:07 PMReply

    I'm watching. Good quality TV. I think a lot of people watched in online already. I made sure that I didn't see any of the reviews or info from the UK, because I didn't want any spoilers.

  • Maurice | September 6, 2013 12:48 PMReply

    I honestly didn't know when it came back on...they had some big push for overseas premiere...then I never heard back. I hope I can watch on On Demand, if so, my girlfriend and I will be tuned in!!!

  • Tasha | September 6, 2013 11:56 AMReply

    I too watched it already

  • Poblano | September 6, 2013 11:41 AMReply

    It's simply a lack of marketing. If BBC pushed Luther the way they pushed Copper both in print and media you'd see a larger turnout. There are far more pluses than negatives for an American audience.

  • Charles Judson | September 6, 2013 11:26 AMReply

    I believe that Doctor Who season 7 premiere number includes the +7 ratings. The Live + Same Day number was more like 1.6 million. The premiere of the second half of season 7 did around 2 million. Until the +7 numbers hit next week, it's not a true comparison.

    However, I'm not sure it's fair to expect LUTHER to have the drawing power of a 50-year old franchise that's spawned several spin-offs and enough merchandising to rival STAR WARS. Tyler Perry and Oprah are also brands, while Elba and Cross aren't. Nothing wrong with that, most TV creators aren't a brand. As successful as Chuck Lorre is, no one sees his name and decides to tune in.

    Also LUTHER isn't a show with a unique hook like ORPHAN BLACK, which by all measures is a hit for BBC America, or even COPPER. The brilliant cop that doesn't exactly play the rules and can get into the head of the killers is well-worn. LUTHER debuted 20 years after PRIME SUSPECT and CRACKER did well on both sides of the pond. Between 1991 and 2010, America TV watchers discovered and had gotten hooked on the spy and sci-fi shows coming stateside, and they've now moved on to the period dramas like DOWNTON ABBEY and CALL THE MIDWIFE.

    As far the 2 month gap being an issue, that decision probably had negligible impact. The season 1 premiere had 191,000 viewers and season 2's was 168,000. It's unlikely releasing the show sooner would have moved that needle much. Dropping to 168,000 and then climbing back to 206,000 is a positive.

    That all being said, it's still likely LUTHER is a winner. Even in season 1, LUTHER's episodes were still besting the average viewership of BBC America as whole. The season 1 premiere was still better than 153,000 average for the week. I believe it was in the third week, the show as down to 137,000 viewers, yet still beat the networks average of 113,000. The show also seems to skew older, and doesn't make a huge dent in the A25-54 numbers like DOCTOR WHO or ORPHAN BLACK. However, 18-34 isn't BBC America's strong point overall--pointedly, women 18-34 really aren't interested. It's Men 35-54 and Men 55+ who express that they are most interested in the channel. LUTHER seems to be the right fit to satisfy BBCA's core audience.

  • Marie | September 6, 2013 9:17 AMReply

    I want to do a binge-watching of it once it's on Netflix. I loved the first season in particular so much that it was great to be able to watch it continuously. People's viewing habits have changed especially for tv shows so maybe it should be recognized that some like me are waiting to watch the entire season all at once. Waiting a week to see what happens next has simply become passé for shows like this.

  • Kyra | September 6, 2013 8:32 AMReply

    The timing of the premier is bad for my family. We were just coming back from a long holiday and had to deal with school and kid issues. I will binge watch it OnDemand this week.

  • Titilayo | September 6, 2013 12:03 AMReply

    Saw it. Couldn't wait. Love Luther and wish that there was another season coming up.

  • april | September 5, 2013 11:49 PMReply

    I love Luther, but I too heard nothing about the season's start date. There was all this hype surrounding the actual filming/green-lighting of this season--that hype should have been shifted to actual season premiere. I should also note that I watch ALL of my television online, but I do not support piracy. So, I watched the previous seasons on Netflix, and because I can't watch the new episodes on BBC's site, I will binge-watch when Season 3 hits Netflix.

  • AC | September 5, 2013 11:34 PMReply

    I already watched this season, so no need to tune in.

  • Reggie | September 5, 2013 10:20 PMReply

    Watched first 2 seasons on CD,(netflix) and will watch the current season, (all 4 episodes) on TWC ON DEMAND. And compared to Orphan Black and Copper, I saw zero promos for it anywhere.

  • Sa-Rah | September 5, 2013 10:09 PMReply

    I am a Luther fan and have been waiting for Season 3. I had no idea it started last Tuesday. Maybe it would help if there was more promotion for the show in the US. I never saw a commercial. Everything I've read has been on FB. Why isn't the show promoted in the US?

  • Phred G | September 5, 2013 10:00 PMReply

    Almost missed Luther eps but got a reminder in S&A. DVRing all 4 to watch later in one sitting. Also ORPHAN BLACK ROCKS! It is one of a few shows that I will watch on the night-of. I still dvr it to speed past the commercials though. I nearly threw a shoe @ the tv when they announced "Orphan Black will return in 2014" earlier this year(April?). Excellent plot premise and very well executed.

  • alison | September 5, 2013 9:58 PMReply

    I'm watching every night! Xoxo luther!

  • sergio | September 5, 2013 9:03 PMReply

    I agree it's was the lack of promotion (which BBC America has been always bad at) added that the network simple doesn't get huge audience numbers anyway except for maybe that car show with those really obnoxious drunkards Top Gear. And even then it's not that big a hit

    SLB is right. Orphan Black is supossed to be their hottest show rght now, but no one watches it. I never even heard of it myself until two weeks ago and even then it didn't sound remotely interesting. Also first week of Sept in really early in the season. The new season of shows havenlt even started yet. Why didn't they wait until Oct or November even with a huge marketing campaign? Who's watching TV right after labor Day except for pre-season football games?

  • Tichaona Chinyelu | September 5, 2013 8:52 PMReply

    In my city (Cambridge, MA), it's not on the regular BBC channel but higher up in the 900s; channels that I don't normally watch or even consider when I'm looking for something to watch. That's one. Two is that it's not available ondemand or xbox video so that those of us who hate commercials can watch it with the narrative uninterrupted by adverts for Wendys or Lincoln town cars. However, I dig the show so made the minor but annoying effort to find out what channel it was actually on.

  • slb | September 5, 2013 8:52 PMReply

    1) It's BBC America. One of the most buzzed about new shows, "Orphan Black" comes on BBC America and it seems like nobody has seen it. BBC America may be in 95 million homes, but it's not a network that people regularly watch. Probably because most of its programming is repurposed from foreign markets like Great Britain.

    2) As mentioned, this show came on the BBC two months ago. Many people who are "Luther" fans already watched season 3 online.

    3) Lack of promotion. I'm a "Luther" fan and have been anticipating its return, but didn't realize the premiere was this week. The previous two seasons debuted in October and last week of September respectively. I don't know why this season premiered early in September. BBC America really dropped the ball in promoting this.

  • Nadia | September 5, 2013 9:06 PM

    SLB to your point about Orphan Black, the thing is though that Orphan Black is doing well. I read your comment and then went to check to see ratings and its first episode was watched by 1 million people. It dropped off to about half that for the rest of the season but it's still doing a lot better than Luther. My thoughts are that like you said, lack of promotion. Somebody should reach out to BBC to find out what they did to promote the season. It almost feels like they junked it and just wanted to get it over with. And also I agree with y'all about the 2 month gap. Not a smart business move. It's too bad though. This is the kind of series we should be supporting. I'm wondering why if an effort has ever been made to get it on another network that is more well known.

  • Melissa | September 5, 2013 8:27 PMReply

    I just finished watching the first season of "Luther" on Netflix yesterday. I don't have cable, but even if I did, I wouldn't wait till the subsequent seasons aired on cable to watch. Thanks for the tip about online availability.

    Also, comparing "Luther" to Tyler Perry is pretty far reaching. They are not in competing categorizes and their respective shows are nothing alike.

    Oh ya, I'm not black, but I watch plenty of shows about lots of different people.

  • Rocket | September 6, 2013 11:33 AM

    "Also, comparing "Luther" to Tyler Perry is pretty far reaching. They are not in competing categorizes and their respective shows are nothing alike."

    ^^Thank you for saying this. There should be no comparison because these are two different audiences. So instead of people taking shots at the TP crowd they need to ask why all the "deep" and "educated" brothers and sisters are not watching it. I would say it comes down to promotion as others have noted. Personally, I'm not into cop/detective shows. I've seen enough over the years. I do hope the show can score more viewers.

  • Bforreal | September 5, 2013 7:36 PMReply

    Dang it. I didn't even know it was on yet! I've been trying to figure out when it starts.

  • QBN | September 5, 2013 7:18 PMReply

    I watched it online weeks ago.. why wait when it's easily available online? Other than Idris, the lack of Black characters on the show, and just being a British production would probably turn a lot of Black Americans off, especially ones that are into that Tyler Perry type nonsense.

  • Accidental Visitor | September 5, 2013 7:12 PMReply

    (Sigh. That will teach me to not cheat by copying and pasting)

    :: cough, cough::

    Hey, Tambay, my friend, if reading the posts on this site every day doesn't give you a clue on the answer you seek then I don't know what will. :)

    Are you asking why aren't Americans in general watching it or why black Americans aren't watching? I know of quite a few black folks in the USA who get into it but they are about the same proportion of black moviegoers who will check out a black indie flick like "Pariah". In other words they aren't the norm. Now I can try guessing why many white people in America might not catch the show but I'm going to stick to black folks and, if you don't mind, stereotype my people when coming up with reasons why the majority of them probably don't tune in. That's much more fun! :)

    No black women of significance.

    No black women of significance.

    Doesn't air on OWN.

    Is not tied in any way to Tyler Perry.

    The last two points are of no surprise considering there's no black women of significance.

    Trying to find BBC America on the cable listing is too much like work.

    BBC America is probably for white people anyway.

    Doesn't fall under the category of "reality program" or "The NFL".

    Why couldn't Luther have had a black wife who separated from him and got killed?

    Why couldn't Luther have a black woman/murderer/crazy chick stalking him series to series?

    Why couldn't Luther have been a black female detective instead in the first place?

    Takes getting used to seeing the steering wheels on the wrong sides of the cars.

    Shonda didn't write this? Ain't watching.

    TPTB haven't gotten the world out through the black church or TD Jakes.

    Luther who? Never heard of him.

    Why they talk funny on that show?

    Not based on a Steve Harvey self-help book.

    No black women of significance.



    Aww, come on. Where's your sense of humor, folks? Personally speaking I find Luther a solid show but not a great one. (the acting is top notch though). Therefore I tend to watch it in one sitting rather than tune in every week (even if its only four weeks tops). That's what I'll do for season three. I'm in no rush. Took me forever just to get around to season two. And to be fair despite what I wrote above black folks don't pay no mind to "Treme" either (a very good show).

  • LL2 | September 6, 2013 1:24 AM

    LOL. I'm a black woman and I do find it extremely annoying when people complain about Luther not having a black woman as his love interest. What is this? The 1950s? That said, I think its fair for people to prefer to watch shows watch shows that speak to their reality. I'm a woman and I prefer to watch shows that are more female focused. I'm not going to apologize for that. I wouldn't expect a man to want to watch to a Jane Austen movie so why should I be expected to want to watch "Luther"? Of course, I'm aware that there are a lot of women who enjoy "Luther" but personally I prefer shows with a lot of estrogen and not a lot of testosterone. I'm happy for all the fans of the show, but I won't be joining them.

  • Kat | September 6, 2013 12:27 AM

    Actually there is a black woman of significance on the show 'DS Erin Gray' - the character came on last season and is central to this season's plot. As a black woman in an interracial marriage myself (16 years and counting), I had a knee jerk reaction as to why none of Luther's love interests have been black, but I quickly recovered from that old school mindset and realized that it doesn't really matter. The show and performances are so truthful that color lines are blurred and it works fantastically. Besides, according to the 2008 US census, 15% of all new marriages in the US are interracial. My guess is that marketing was virtually nonexistent. Hence, the reason blacks may have not tuned in is likely the same reason why other ethnic demographics did not tune in - regardless of color, if people are not aware then they don't know it's happening. I would not have known about the new season of Luther if I had not seen it on my FB feed courtesy of Shadow and Act.

  • BluTopaz | September 5, 2013 10:43 PM

    I'll play "let's stereotype" too:

    That show doesn't show enough ass

    Actually, there's no ass showing atall

    It's not deep, like the original concept of the singlemotherstripperwhofallsinloveandstillneedstoshowassforalivingannddeepdownshe
    snotaho

    Nobody saying "nigga, son, knowwhatimsayin, etc, niggas ain't keeping it real on Lutha

    Which of course means no rap soundtrack, hence, no waxing poetic about bitches and bling, nor killing other niggaz

  • Miles Ellison | September 5, 2013 8:45 PM

    A lot of those reasons are legitimate.

  • deecreative | September 5, 2013 7:03 PMReply

    People don't know about Luther, it's all about promotion! People just don't know, I talked to a co-worker today and he said 'i've been hearing a lot about this show Luther' people are hooked once they watch though! BBC America dropped the ball when they didn't show it when it was premiering in the UK, Idris Elba is a big time star in the U.S. they should have pushed it more.

  • Walter Harris Gavin | September 5, 2013 6:53 PMReply

    Luther is not your average "run of the mill" characters that U.S audiences, black and white are accustomed to from U. S networks. If Luther was on HBO, or Showtime it would I suspect get a much bigger audience. BBC America isn't a "go to" Net like those mentioned above and promotions for the show on BBC isn't going to generate the kind of "event" audience the show deserves.
    Plus you've got to hit people where they are with promotion, meaning promos in prime time or daytime on broadcast nets, booking Idris on Jay Leno, David Letterman, other late night and daytime (morning) shows, The View, Today, etc., stories on Idris in black media publications and radio, Tom Joyner.
    BBC America dropped the ball re: promotion, creating a "buzz." Can't just depend on "on-line."
    I would also guess that a lot of folks see the series as "British highbrow," which casts a pall in a lot of circles.

  • Nate | September 5, 2013 6:50 PMReply

    DVR'ing it. I virtually saw no promotion of the series. Only because I follow their Facebook page, did I even know it was going to be aired on BBC America. I knew it aired a while ago in the UK and was avoiding spoilers.

  • Josh | September 5, 2013 6:40 PMReply

    Love Luther, DVRing it. Probably the closest I will get to a black Sherlock Holmes.

  • Winston | September 6, 2013 12:05 AM

    Shut up. Why do you crave a "black Sherlock", when you have a black Luther?

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