'His Dark Materials' Premiere Pulls OK Ratings for HBO

The fantasy series scores the premium cabler's biggest Monday audience since 'Chernobyl' in May.
Courtesy of HBO

HBO got decent premiere ratings from His Dark Materials Monday night, including a sizable bump from its digital platforms.

The series based on Philip Pullman's trilogy of novels drew 424,000 viewers for its first airing on the premium cable outlet. A replay and same-night streaming pushed the total to 700,000, which HBO says is its best Monday premiere across all platforms since Chernobyl in early May.

The initial airing's audience was ahead of that for Catherine the Great (332,000) on Oct. 21 and close to that of Gentleman Jack (441,000) in late April. HBO says, however, that His Dark Materials drew six times the digital audience Gentleman Jack did on its premiere night. Streaming and the on-air replay boosted the show's initial audience by about 65 percent. 

The replay/streaming lift puts His Dark Materials in the middle of the pack for recent HBO premieres. Succession heads the list with a 96 percent bump for its season two debut, followed by Watchmen (87.5 percent), Big Little Lies (76 percent) and Euphoria (70 percent). The Righteous Gemstones grew by 42 percent with same-night replays and streaming, and the final season premiere of Game of Thrones rose by 47.5 percent (albeit from a much, much higher starting point).

His Dark Materials, also got off to a strong start in the U.K. on Sunday. Airing on BBC One, the premiere drew 7.2 million viewers — the biggest audience for a drama series debut in the country in five years.

The series stars Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Clarke Peters, James Cosmo, Anne-Marie Duff and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It's produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema; executive producers are Dan McCulloch, Jane Tranter, Joel Collins and Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf; Philip Pullman, Jack Thorne, Tom Hooper, Otto Bathhurst; Deborah Forte, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema; and Ben Irving and Piers Wenger for BBC One.