Who will watch the Watchmen?
Turns out 1.5 million people, that’s who. The debut of the highly anticipated HBO series delivered that many sets of eyeballs across all the premium cabler’s platforms on Sunday night.
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For comparison, Sunday’s premiere was up 21% in linear on last week’s “Succession” season finale, and up 20% from the 1.2 million multi-platform figure posted by the “Succession” season 2 premiere. However, the Regina King show’s debut is also down almost 30% on the season 2 premiere of “Westworld” from last year, which drew 2.1 million viewers. Obviously “Watchmen” isn’t in the same stratosphere as “Game of Thrones,” by far HBO’s biggest show of the past few years which drew a mammoth 17.4 million viewers for its season 8 premiere in April, but it will be interesting to see how the show matches up to closer comps like “Succession” and “Westworld” as it moves through its first season.
According to HBO, the premiere marked the strongest debut performance for a series on its digital platforms since the series premiere of “Westworld” in 2016. During its 9 p.m. airing on Sunday night, the show averaged 800,000 viewers, making it one of premium cable’s most watched series debuts this year.
Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, “Watchmen” stars King as Angela Abar, who wears two masks; one as a lead detective in the Tulsa Police Force, and another as wife and mother of three. Showrunner Damon Lindelof is the mind behind this latest adaptation of the 1980s DC comic book of the same name, written by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Frances Fisher also star.
“Watchmen” has been garnering generally positive across the board, with Variety critic Daniel D’Addario comparing it favorably with the 2009 Zack Snyder big screen adaptation.
“The ambition on display here is pleasing and, if not new for Lindelof, then new for ‘Watchmen,'” D’Addario wrote in his review.
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