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'Outlander' Premieres and 3.7 Million Viewers Peek Under the Kilt

Starz's high-profile period drama formally arrives after an aggressive streaming soft launch

Outlander Still Caitriona Balfe Sam Heughan - H 2014
Starz
"Outlander"

Outlander's TV arrival this weekend was a long time in the making. The book of the same name came out back in 1991, winning a legion of passionate fans who flipped their proverbial lids when Starz announced it was adapting Diana Gabaldon's books into a TV series little more than a year ago.

Well, the first episode finally bowed on Saturday night, and the inaugural telecast averaged 720,000 viewers for the pay cable network. Combining multiple weekend plays and an aggressive online and on-demand sampling period from last week, Outlander's first episode brought in an estimated 3.7 million viewers.

That number stands as a multiplatform best for Starz, with 1.4 million viewers outside of the parent net — a fact that might not come as much of a surprise for many. Though the network had a big success in Spartacus and recently got solid performances from Power and Da Vinci's Demons, Outlander has given the network its most built-in buzz to date. As it stands, Outlander's premiere weekend audience roughly matches that of Black Sails in January.

Despite the female angle of the romance, the episode was also almost evenly split among women and men. Forty-five percent of the total audience was males between 18 and 49.

To be certain, Starz aims to extend that buzz as much as possible. The network recently announced that the first season of 16 episodes will air in two parts. The latter eight episodes bow in early 2015 after this first run wraps on Sept. 27.

Outlander was adapted for TV by Battlestar Galactica's Ronald D. Moore and stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. Its total premiere audience will arrive in the coming weeks once complete streams and live-plus-3 and live-plus-7 ratings are available.