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‘Olive Kitteridge’ Ratings: 559,000 Viewers For HBO’s Sunday Unveiling

Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

HBO reported this morning that 559,000 viewers watched Sunday’s debut of Olive Kitteridge in its 9 PM debut on Sunday. HBO aired the first two episodes of the dysfunctional-marriage miniseries starring Frances McDormand, back to back.

Last May, HBO FilmsThe Normal Heart delivered a solid 1.4 million viewers, but that was across two plays on a Sunday night. Debuting nearly three decades after Larry Kramer’s play premiered off-Broadway, the 9 PM unveiling of the Ryan Murphy-directed project logged an average of slightly less than 1 million viewers, and an additional 434,000 thousand watched at 11:15 PM. That puts it fifth in viewership among the 17 HBO Films that have premiered on the network since 2010. Back in March of 2011, the premiere of HBO’s Mildred Pierce — dysfunctional marriage drama starring Kate Winslet — logged 1.3 million viewers.

(For comparison’s sake: In March 2012, Game Change, about the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as Sen. John McCain’s runninHBO Filmsg mate in the 2008 presidential campaign, snagged an average of 2.1 million viewers on its debut night, which marked the biggest crowd for an HBO original film since 2004’s Something The Lord Made, which snared 2.6 million viewers.

Olive Kitteridge writer/EP Jane Anderson, who wrote the script based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, told TV critics last summer that the story of Olive, who suffers from depression, is a “traumedy,” and called the decision to make such a quiet, intimate story a brave one for HBO where “they make these large, giant pieces of television where they have a lot of killing and f***ing.”


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  1. ....on Nov 4, 2014 9:28 am

    basically no one tuned in. well done HBO!

    • Jen Hereon Nov 6, 2014 10:39 am

      I actually didn’t know about the show until after the first part had already aired. I caught the second, parts 3 & 4 but I was sad that I had missed 1 & 2 so I got it on demand and watched it all again in one sitting. I just don’t think that HBO promoted it well enough, if they had, I’m sure they would have had a greater viewing audience.

      • on Nov 7, 2014 7:37 am

        Same here.

  2. Benon Nov 4, 2014 9:37 am

    This really was barely promoted. Great miniseries though.

    • Mary Ellen Nokovichon Nov 4, 2014 12:15 pm

      oh I so agree. please, more of these type minis. I loved it.

  3. Olive Kitteridgeon Nov 4, 2014 11:50 am

    This was such a great mini series. It made me laugh, cry and think. I loved Henry and felt very sorry for Olive. I really understood where they were all coming from and you couldn’t help sympathize with every single character. I even loved that Angela the singer aged and just kept in singing, hilarious!! I can’t wait to read the book. A truly amazing story.

  4. Rubyon Nov 4, 2014 11:52 am

    Absolutely riveting – poignant, commonplace, natural and honest. It’s a piece of every generation’s past. It celebrates sadness and happiness, without annoying side bars and overacting. A beautiful tribute to the solidness of individuals who are alone and stoic and funny. This drama exceeds it’s relevance and transcends our collective humanity. A pleasure to watch.

  5. on Nov 4, 2014 2:25 pm

    I loved it. Cant wait for episode 4. Well done.

  6. on Nov 4, 2014 2:30 pm

    I loved it. I hope HBO will do more mini series like this. It wasn’t promoted much. I just happened to run into it. Glad I did.

  7. on Nov 4, 2014 2:57 pm

    I’m sure more people will start tuning in on OnDemand and HBO Go once the year-end awards noms start coming out. Absolutely phenomenal on all levels, and the best thing HBO Films has done since Angels in America.

    But yeah, the P&A for this and The Normal Heart sucked.

  8. karenon Nov 4, 2014 3:18 pm

    frances mcdormand was absolutely wonderful as usual in this role. Enjoyed it very much.

  9. on Nov 4, 2014 6:21 pm

    Totally depressing. A waste of four hours, although Francis Mc Dormand was and is always great!

  10. nancyon Nov 4, 2014 8:25 pm

    The first hour was hard to get through but it got better and better!! Superb writing and acting! Bravo!!!

  11. Judyon Nov 4, 2014 10:00 pm

    Fabulous story script acting and production a great. Series. Bravo for kit family

  12. Laynieon Nov 4, 2014 10:40 pm

    I loved it .

  13. Horst Durveron Nov 5, 2014 5:16 am

    After she wins the Emmy for this—and she WILL–Frances McDormand will only need a Grammy to become an EGOT.

  14. Jennyon Nov 5, 2014 10:53 am

    Fabulous story and stellar acting as always from Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins; Bill Murray adds the perfect touch for balancing the darkness with humor and levity. I hope HBO brings us more of these great mini series.

  15. Steve Basheinon Nov 5, 2014 3:38 pm

    Great story – based on 1st episode.
    Terrific script – AND the reason we tuned in in the first place is the fabulous cast- which delivered as expected. HBO kudos to you!

  16. on Nov 5, 2014 10:41 pm

    Fabulous! The acting is phenomenal!!

  17. on Nov 6, 2014 4:27 am

    This was great. Shame this was not a series. Loved the characters! HBO make this a series lol

    • Jen Hereon Nov 6, 2014 10:35 am

      I agree with you, this would have made an amazing mini-series

  18. Jen Hereon Nov 6, 2014 10:32 am

    It was excellent once you got in sync with the slower pace of the dialog but that’s so true to life about the way of living in some of these more remote Maine towns. The story evolved gracefully and had some very poignant moments. The cast was absolutely perfect and gave stellar performances.

  19. Almaon Nov 6, 2014 1:33 pm

    Loving it OnDemand. Quality mini series. Well done, HBO!

  20. on Nov 6, 2014 3:04 pm

    I happened on Olive Kitteridge while surfing channels. I at first thought it was a movie and feeling that I’d missed too much, changed channels. The next day, It happened again, and since, I thought, it hadn’t been on long, I watched. I cannot praise the story and the acting too much!! It was so painful to watch. Frances McDormand was so tight, holding back, seemingly denying herself happiness and joy along with everyone else. She was so pragmatic, not always wrong, but always clipped and cold, keeping people away. I now know that it was a four part series and I must see episodes one and two.

  21. on Nov 6, 2014 4:30 pm

    I think HBO did not do a good job promoting this mini series , because it is a really good mini series and great actors they all did a great job in there roles..but if all the ones have seen it and really like it then promote in Facebook and Twitter Instagram People will cash up…

  22. Puto ✌on Nov 6, 2014 4:36 pm

    I think HBO did not do a good job promoting this mini series, because it is a really good one with great actors I love it.. if anyone that watch it really like it then let others know through social media…

  23. on Nov 6, 2014 6:34 pm

    Outstanding! Acting was incredible!

  24. JMK99on Nov 6, 2014 8:37 pm

    Richard Jenkins was amazing! Frances McDormand was her usual outstanding self, but Richard Jenkins really was the poignant soul of this project. It was a master class in acting.

    • Joanprezon Nov 7, 2014 3:57 am

      Perfectly stated. Loved it.

  25. on Nov 6, 2014 9:08 pm

    I was glued to the tv for the entire 4 hours of olive kitteridge. I loved it so dearly. Frances wears the skin of all of her characters..the acting by everyone was, fabulous, imagery, dreamy. The heart beat of the film was just right. The experiece enriched my soul. Thank you for creating such a soul driven film.

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