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‘The Killing,’ ‘The Borgias,’ ‘Camelot’ & ‘The Kennedys’ all have strong premiere ratings

TV ratings are usually Fienberg’s domain, but given the large number of prominent cable shows that debuted over the weekend – almost all of them to ratings that had to make their respective channels happy – I’m going to do a quick write-up on the premiere numbers for “Camelot,” “The Killing,” “The Borgias” and “The Kennedys.”

“Camelot” (which I reviewed here, and you can discuss the premiere here) drew 1.125 million viewers for its debut airing, and 1.573 million combined viewers for its multiple Friday airings. That makes it Starz’s highest-rated series debut ever, even beating out the million-plus who watched the recent premiere of the “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” prequel miniseries. (And makes all 27 of us fans of “Party Down” want to cry again and again.)

“The Killing” (which I reviewed in advance here; my review of the premiere is here) wasn’t quite a record-setter for AMC, but only because “The Walking Dead” is going to be hard to beat for a very long time. The debut airing averaged 2.7 million viewers, making it AMC’s second-biggest debut ever, and for the night it combined for 4.7 million viewers. (“Walking Dead” got 5.3 million for its first airing and combined for 8.1 million on its premiere night.)

“The Borgias” (I reviewed it here; my premiere post is here) grabbed 1.06 million viewers for its 9 p.m. premiere and a combined 1.49 million for the night, making it Showtime’s highest-rated drama debut since “Dead Like Me” seven years ago.

And “The Kennedys” (which I didn’t review because I never got a screener) did quite well for obscure Reelz Channel, which picked up the project after History Channel dumped it. It opened with 1.9 million viewers, an impressive number given how few of those 1.9 million probably even knew what or where Reelz was before “The Kennedys” happened.

UPDATE: Vulture’s Joe Adalian and TV Guide’s Mike Schneider confirmed with Nielsen that the actual audience number for “The Kennedys” was 1.3 million, not the 1.9 the channel reported. (When pressed on it by Mike and Joe, they said that they got it from combining eyeballs on the East and West coast airings or somesuch.)  So still a good number by Reelz standards, but not as good – and kind of embarrassing that they told such an easily-disproven fib.

All in all, a good weekend for cable, and good news for the many of you around here who were impressed by “The Killing” debut.

By Alan Sepinwall – A good weekend for original cable dramas



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