Showtime’s Ailes series has modest start, but it’s early

NEW YORK (AP) — Intensely loyal viewers routinely make Fox News Channel the most-watched cable network each week. So how many people want to watch a miniseries about Roger Ailes, the man who developed and ran the place for its first two decades?

The safest answer for Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice in the Room” is it’s early.

The Nielsen company said 299,000 watched Sunday’s 10 p.m. debut of the miniseries starring Russell Crowe, or roughly one-tenth of the audience Sean Hannity pulls in each night. But for a premium cable network, that’s only part of the story. When you add replays and streams, Sunday’s audience swelled to 651,000, Nielsen said.

Often, as much as 80% of an audience for a Showtime series watches on a delayed basis, network spokeswoman Johanna Fuentes said.

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“Since we’re not ad-supported, that’s just fine by us,” Fuentes said via Twitter. “Show will be at a million (viewers) by week’s end.”

Another Showtime miniseries, “Escape from Dannemora,” reached 397,000 viewers at the first episode’s premiere in November. By the end of last month, that episode had been seen by just under 6 million viewers.

The Showtime miniseries, “Patrick Melrose,” had 219,000 viewers at its debut last year. Showtime’s “Homeland” (1.24 million), “Billions” (771,000) and “The Affair” (521,000) had larger audience for the debuts of their most recent seasons — but as returning season premieres for existing popular series, they would be expected to have a larger audience.

Elsewhere, NBC’s two-night coverage of the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 political season dominated the television landscape. Wednesday night’s debate reached 15.3 million people across the broadcast network, as well as MSNBC and Telemundo. The audience for Thursday was 18.1 million, the largest ever for a Democratic primary debate.

Boosted by the political nights, NBC won the week in prime time, averaging 4.9 million viewers. CBS had 3.6 million, ABC had 3.3 million, Fox had 1.9 million, ION Television had 1.5 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 680,000.

Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.37 million viewers. MSNBC had 2.3 million, ESPN had 1.28 million, HGTV had 1.23 million and USA had 1.04 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.8 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 6.8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5 million viewers.

For the week of June 24-30, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “Democratic Debate” (Thursday), NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, 18.1 million; “Democratic Debate” (Wednesday), NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo, 15.3 million; “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 10.14 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7 million; “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 5.74 million; “Big Brother” (Tuesday), CBS, 4.94 million; “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 4.87 million; “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC, 4.67 million; “The $100,000 Pyramid,” ABC, 4.59 million; “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 4.53 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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