UPDATED: This past weekend offered a flurry of cable premieres, including The Killing on AMC, The Borgias on Showtime, Camelot on Starz and miniseries The Kennedys on ReelzChannel. The ratings for all four came in strong, with two, The Kennedys and Camelot, setting all-time records for their networks.
The Killing averaged 2.7 million viewers in its original 9 PM airing, 891,000 of them in the 18-49 demographic. For the night, the murder mystery drama averaged 4.7 million total viewers, including encores at 11PM and 1 AM, 1.5 million in 18-49. The Killing was the second-most-watched series premiere for AMC behind The Walking Dead, which is No. 1 by a wide margin with the 5.3 million viewers (3.6 million in 18-49) it drew in October.
Showtime’s premiere of The Borgias posted the pay cable network’s largest premiere audience for a drama series in seven years. The costume drama starring Jeremy Irons averaged 1.06 million viewers at 9 PM (vs. 1.11 million for record holder Dead Like Me seven years ago) and 1.49 million for the 9 PM and 11 PM airings combined. The Borgias‘ debut was up 22% from the premiere of Showtime’s first big period drama, The Tudors, which The Borgias succeeded. It also surpassed the January premiere of Shameless (982,000), which at the time was Showtime’s most-watched drama series premiere since Dead Like Me.
The two-hour premiere of another costume drama, Starz’s Camelot, drew 1.125 million viewers in its Friday premiere (1.573 million for the night). The series starring Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower and Eva Green posted a new record for a most watched Starz series premiere, edging last year’s debut of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which averaged 1.098 million viewers.
Meanwhile, the debut of the controversial miniseries The Kennedys, originally produced for History before the cable network dropped it in January, opened with a respectable 1.9 million viewers on ReelzChannel for its original and encore airings combined, a record in the fledgling network’s five-year history. The network did not release the audience breakdown for the premiere and repeat run like its more established counterparts.