On a very competitive night that included HBO’s Game of Thrones season opener, CBS’s Academy of Country Music Awards and, yes, WrestleMania 30 on pay-per-view, AMC‘s new crunchy-gravel drama Turn logged a hefty 2.1 million viewers at 9 PM last night. With the repeat viewing at 10:30 PM, that crowd grew to a cumed 3 million viewers. Among the premiere telecast’s 2.1 mil were 669,000 demo viewers; with the 10:30 PM repeat factored in, that stat grows to 1.1 million. Even better, the quarterly stats throughout the 90-minute premiere remained consistent, which means viewers did not look at a few minutes of the period piece and respond “Yikes!”
With its celebrated anti-hero dramas Breaking Bad and Mad Men gone and entering final season, respectively, there’s a lot of pressure on AMC’s straight-up good-guys-versus-bad drama which promises to feature guys in breeches, waistcoats, and powdered wigs. Turn, set during the American Revolutionary War, and based on Alexander Rose’s book Washington Spies, is about the country’s first spy ring whose members collected intel for George Washington about British rannygazoo in what’s now New York. The network has, to date, made its ratings hay with anti-heroes on the above-mentioned two drama hits — and let’s not forget zombie-drama The Walking Dead. Making matters worse, Turn, from Nikita creator/executive producer Craig Silverstein and Barry Josephson, last month got a ringing endorsement from former POTUS and CIA chief George H.W. Bush at a private Houston, TX screening. But author Rose has promised that the “vast untapped reservoir of intelligence history” on which the show is based, including Washington’s extensive correspondence with the Culper spy ring, has been “ignored over the last couple hundred years because, it’s face it, it’s a bit seamy, a bit underhanded,”adding that Washington “loved to spy and he was really good at it.”
And, FYI, the Breaking Bad premiere, on January 20, 2008, logged 1.411 million viewers while Mad Men’s unveiling, on July 19, 2007, clocked 1.645 million.