Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’ Debut Pratfalls In Ratings For Showtime


Oscar Wilde once quipped that “there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

Having generated a lot of chatter recently, Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime may take The Importance of Being Earnest author’s words as some cold comfort today. They may have to. Because, for all the hoopla around the debut of Cohen’s Who Is America? series, the 10 PM premiering satire offering attracted a pretty meager viewership on July 15, at least on the small screen.

Just 327,000 sets of eyeballs tuned in to the premium cabler on Sunday night to see the Borat star spoof Senator Bernie Sanders, gun activists, Trent Lott, supporters of Donald Trump and more in the first episode of the series. Among the key demographic of adults 18-49, Who Is America? pulled in a low 0.1 rating. That put the secretive and controversial Who Is America? in the hinterland of the 70th highest-rated original show on cable on July 15.

In comparison and airing in the same 10 PM ET slot as Who Is America?, Fox Sports 1 had UFC Fight Night with a 0.3 rating and 754,000 viewers. Over on Home, House Hunters Renovation snagged a 0.3 in the key demo too. However, the politics free HHR also pulled in an audience of 1.4 million.

Of course, unlike those other shows Who Is America? wasn’t just limited to television.

Hoping to see some of the digital success that Starz’s Power has pioneered in recent years, Showtime launched Who Is America? online, on streaming and On Demand almost a full day before the show appeared on TV.

Showtime say that Cohen’s multi-character show had over a million viewers on Sunday when you put all the platforms together. The digital drop of Who Is America? on July 15, 12 AM generated 301,000 views.

In spin mode and with no hard numbers, the David Nevins-run outlet also says that Who Is America? fueled the most sign-ups this year for a series in a single day for Showtime’s streaming service. That also translates into the No. 3 best sign-up rate for a series debut since Showtime started its over-the-top service back in 2015.

Having said that, back to TV proper for a sec, Who Is America? certainly did provide its lead-out with a small bump on Sunday. The latest episode of the Stephen Colbert EP’d animated Trump-mocking series Our Cartoon President snared 186,000 viewers. That’s up from the 171,000 that Our Cartoon President had for its last original of April 8.

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