Discovery Channel‘s first-ever miniseries Klondike clocked 3.4 million viewers Monday — the network’s largest ever Monday primetime audience. It also delivered the network’s most-watched Monday among men 18+ and the highest-rated Monday in more than a decade in the 25-54 demo. Featuring a cast including Richard Madden, Abbie Cornish, Tim Roth and Sam Shepard, Part 1 of Klondike repeats tonight at 7 PM, followed by the premiere of Part 2 at 9. The third and final installment of the miniseries premieres tomorrow at 9 PM.
In December, Discovery announced its miniseries about the Klondike Gold Rush of 1895, co-produced by Scott Free Television, eOne and Nomadic Pictures and based on Canadian journalist Charlotte Gray’s novel Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich In The Klondike. The script, written by Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring, tells the story of six strangers and their collective fight for survival and wealth in a small frontier town in the remote Klondike. Chris Cooper, cast in February as Father Judge — who has come to Klondike to atone for his violent past on a mission to save souls — exited in March after suffering a minor heart attack. Shepard replaced him.
The numbers have to be good news for miniseries star Shepard; Days earlier at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour, when asked why he agreed to take a role in a Discovery miniseries, he responded, “Yeah. I was out of work…the landlord was going to kick me out.” Shepard described the subject of Discovery’s first scripted project as, “another piece of American madness… You know, another chunk of insanity that we carry around with us, regardless of whether it’s involved in technology or involved in trapping beavers.” Whatever — viewers responded. Also good news for Roth, cast as the Klondike villain, who’d said, “I liked the idea of playing a crooked real estate guy — it was an interesting concept to me… For me, there’s nothing really dark and deep — you just muck about, and then you hone in on things that seem to be working and flesh them out. I found him to be incredibly offensive, but also quite fun. And the humor aspect, even if only for my entertainment, that’s what keeps me going.”