'Liz & Dick' Draws 3.5 Million Viewers to Lifetime

Liz & Dick Couple on set of Cleopatra - H 2012

Liz & Dick Couple on set of Cleopatra - H 2012

America tuned in for Liz & Dick -- though not like it did for Steel Magnolias last month.

The Lifetime original movie, starring Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, pulled in 3.5 million viewers during its inaugural airing Sunday night. That's 3 million shy of Magnolias, which was the network's third-most-watched broadcast in history with 6.5 million.

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Liz & Dick's premiere capped off months of buzz around Lohan ending her career hiatus with a portrayal of the iconic actress -- and, most recently, the largely negative reviews that kept the TV movie in headlines.

That 3.5 million average makes Liz & Dick the network's fourth-most-watched original movie of the year. The two-hour telepic ranks behind Magnolias, the Jan. 21 premiere of Drew Peterson: Untouchable (5.8 million viewers) and Abducted: The Carlina White Story (4.1 million).

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Liz & Dick raked in 1.3 million adults 25-54, 1.3 million adults 18-49, and 1.1 million and 1 million in Lifetime's target demos of women 18-49 and women 25-54 groups, respectively.

Given all of the media attention on the project, the figure for Liz & Dick might fall shy of expectations but comes toward the end of what has been an exceptional ratings year for Lifetime.

Steel Magnolias, an adaptation of the 1989 feature starring an all-black cast, scored record returns. And Drew Peterson, starring Kaley Cuoco and Rob Lowe, opened 2012 with a two-year ratings high for the women-targeted network.

Email: Michael.OConnell@THR.com; Twitter: @MikeyLikesTV