After a week of multi-platform previews that drew nearly 900,000 views, the broadcast of Starz’s much anticipated Outlander had an audience of 720,000 for its first play debut this weekend. The 9 PM August 9 premiere of the series based on Diana Gabaldon’s best sellers was followed by three Saturday replays airings, which totaled up to another 1.5 million. There was also Sunday replay that had around 800,000 viewers for a total weekend viewership of 2.3 million. That’s up strong from the 462,000 Live + Same Day debut of Power at 9 PM on June 7 and the 2.022 million that the drama had over its 9 plays over its premiere weekend. Like Outlander, Power had a weeklong on-demand and online preview, which had 480,000 viewers. Looking at seasonal to seasonal comparisons, Power‘s result was steady with the 416,000 first play viewership that The White Queen had on August 9, 2013. The Brit import drama got 2.1 million viewers overall for its premiere weekend.
To further comparisons, Outlander was just a kilt or two behind what Black Sails did in its Starz debut on the weekend of January 25. Also premiering on a Saturday, as is now Starz’s habit, the Michael Bay-produced pirate drama had 846,000 viewers for its 9 PM launch and just over 2.7 million for its various plays over the weekend. With those multi-platform viewing numbers now up at 1.4 million, it seems Outlander may have topped Black Sails as Starz’s No. 1 premiere weekend series if so many hadn’t had a chance to watch it beforehand. The all-time Starz premiere episode high still remains Camelot, which had 1.125 million viewers in its early April 2011 regularly scheduled debut.
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The debut Outlander episode covered the first several chapters of Gabaldon’s first book, which means there’s a lot of ground to cover in Season 1. Not that Outlander won’t have time to do it. Last month at the summer TCA, it was announced that the Ron Moore EP’d series will split its first season in two with the first 8-episodes running on Saturdays until September 27 and the second 8-episodes of the first cycle set to start airing in early 2015.