Back on the small screen after a 26-year absence, Twin Peaks’ Showtime debut was surrounded in “exposure but not too much exposure,” to quote cable boss David Nevins, and secrecy ahead of its Sunday premiere.
With that, 506,000 viewers watched the two-hour, two-episode 9 PM premiere of the David Lynch and Mark Frost series Sunday, according to Nielsen. Among adults 18-49, the return of Agent Dale Cooper, Laura Palmer and more of the mystery of the Pacific Northwest town snagged a 0.2 rating.
On the flip side, and telling of this era of Peak TV, Showtime also had episodes 3 and 4 of the new Twin Peaks available online Sunday after the premiere. The cabler says it saw the single biggest day and weekend of signups ever to its streaming service, Showtime Anytime and Showtime On Demand. The Twin Peaks debut was also a big deal on social media, with 4.7 million total impressions on Twitter and top trending domestically and internationally.
Getting back to those linear numbers again, no one ever expect the 18-part new Twin Peaks on premium cable to approach anywhere near the 34 million who tuned in to watch the original opening of the series on ABC on April 8, 1990. Still, that just more than 500,000 sets of eyeballs does seem soft for such a strongly promoted prestige project. While up 178% in total audience from what John Ridley’s Guerrilla miniseries debut with on April 16, Twin Peaks was behind both HBO’s The Leftovers and Starz’s American Gods on Sunday night. Those one-hour dramas on premium cable are both deep into their seasons and had 770,000 and 631,000 viewers, respectively.
The surprise win by the Boston Celtics over reigning champs the Cleveland Cavaliers on TNT was the big winner of Sunday night with 7 million tuning in and a 2.9 rating in the key demo.
Over two plays on Sunday night, the Twin Peaks two-episode opener pulled in 626,000 total viewers and has seen 450,000 via streaming and On Demand. Showtime will have Live+3 numbers for the Twin Peaks debut later this week. On May 28, the cabler will air episodes 3 and 4 before shifting to one episode a week for the rest of the installment’s run.