Discovery's 'Serengeti' Hits 6-Year Ratings High for TV Nature Docs (Exclusive)

Serengeti Still - Publicity - H 2019
Richard Jones/Discovery

Discovery's Serengeti has roared out of the gate in the ratings.

The Aug. 4 premiere of the Simon Fuller-produced series pulled in the best rating (1.2, including three days of delayed viewing) among Discovery's core demographic of adults 25-54 for any nature documentary on Nielsen-measured TV in six years. The last nature doc to reach that mark was another Discovery show, North America.

Sunday's airing racked up 3 million viewers after three days, up from 2.35 million for its initial airing (it was also simulcast on Animal Planet, Science Channel and Discovery en Español). That made it Sunday's most-watched cable program — moving ahead of a NASCAR race on NBC Sports Network — and the best series debut on Discovery in four years, since Naked and Afraid XL in summer 2015.

Serengeti also led Sunday's cable charts among several key male demos: men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. The docuseries was also a big draw for family viewing: 18 percent of adults 25-54 watched the show with a child under age 12, double the usual average for Discovery.

Fuller, best known as the creator of American Idol and manager of the Spice Girls, created and executive produces Serengeti with documentary veteran John Downer (Spy in the Wild). Discovery's Nancy Daniels and Howard Swartz also executive produce.

The series comes from Fuller's XIX Entertainment and John Downer Productions. Discovery is co-presenting Serengeti with the BBC.