1:48pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: Starz Posts Network Best With 'Black Sails' Launch
That two-season renewal for Black Sails might not have been premature after all. Starz debuted the pirate drama over the weekend for its biggest series launch in network history.
Grossing 3.5 million viewers over the weekend and across platforms, the premiere telecast of Black Sails averaged 850,000 viewers at 9 p.m. on Saturday night.
VIDEO: Watch the First Episode of Black Sails
With the premiere, an estimated 2.6 million viewers watched the first episode over the course of the weekend -- and an additional 900,000 viewers have already been attributed to multiplatform on-demand and online sampling to drive the show to the network record.
Though the premiere telecast did not set a Starz high, both the weekend haul and the Saturday gross (1.7 million) set bests.
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht spoke about his confidence in the project earlier in January. "In order to get shows back on the air 12 months after they originally air, they need time," said Albrecht. "These big serialized dramas continue to get better -- the good ones, anyway -- [but] at some point the show needs to make a case for itself, business-wise."
Black Sails comes to Starz from co-creators Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine. Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form also executive produce.