In reporting Apple’s Q2 earnings last week, CEO Tim Cook revealed “an all-time record in Services,” noting that Apple TV+ was doing well as more people watched content while under lockdown. The streamer’s latest original scripted series, Defending Jacob, might be a prime example.
Apple is known for closely guarding information, and, like other streamers, Apple TV+ has not released viewership data, with only a few snippets surfacing last fall about how viewers consumed the service’s offerings during its November launch weekend. Apple TV+ debuted four original live-action scripted series at launch, led by flagship The Morning Show, the service’s most award-recognized show, which also is believed to be its most popular original.
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Apple TV+ appears to have had its biggest debut since then with the new limited series Defending Jacob, starring Chris Evans. According to sources, Defending Jacob ranks among the top three series premieres for Apple TV+, logging a big opening weekend with viewership continuing to build in Week 2 and the audience growing by five times in its first 10 days (April 24-May 3) to rank among the two fastest-growing series premieres for Apple TV+. The platform’s series typically debut with their first three episodes put out on premiere weekend, followed by a weekly release of the remaining episodes.
Defending Jacob also is believed to be setting Apple TV+ records for viewer engagement. The vast majority of viewers who sampled the show during its premiere weekend watched all three available episodes, and nearly all who watched those also completed the fourth episode released May 1, I have learned. Episode 5 becomes available this Friday, unveiling J.K. Simmons’ Billy Barber as the estranged father of Evans’ Andy Barber. (Watch a clip below.)
Apple TV+ rolled out November 1 in more than 100 countries and has debuted 26 original programs in its first six months. They have earned 36 award nominations to date.
Created and written by Mark Bomback based on William Landay’s bestselling novel, Defending Jacob tells the story of Andy Barber (Evans), a father dealing with the accusation that his 14-year-old son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) is a murderer. What makes things even more complicated is that Andy is a deputy district attorney torn by his duty to his office and his love for his son.
Michelle Dockery plays Evans’ wife and Jacob’s mother, Laurie.
The series hails from Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. Morten Tyldum directs the and executive produces. Showrunner Bomback, Evans and Tyldum executive produce with Rosalie Swedlin and Adam Shulman for Anonymous Content.
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