'Snowpiercer' Opens to Strong Ratings for TNT

Snowpiercer- Diggs Connelly PH Justina Mintz -TNT Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Justina Mintz/TNT

The premiere of Snowpiercer chugged its way to big ratings Sunday on TNT.

The long-in-the-making drama brought in 3.3 million viewers for its series premiere and two replays (one on TNT and one on TBS). That makes it the top new entertainment program on cable so far in 2020 and the largest premiere on TNT since The Alienist in January 2018.

The debut telecast on TNT brought in the bulk of that audience, with 1.94 million total viewers, 607,000 adults 18-49 and 784,000 adults 25-54. Taken together, the three Sunday airings delivered 1 million adults 18-49.

The big audience for the Snowpiercer premiere caps a nearly five-year journey for the project to make it to the small screen. The adaptation of Bong Joon Ho's 2013 feature film (itself based on French graphic novel Le Transperceneige) was put into development in late 2015 by Tomorrow Studios, with Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) writing. TNT landed the effort with a pilot order in November 2016.

TNT picked up Snowpiercer to series in January 2018, then proceeded to do a near-complete teardown of Friedman's pilot (which was directed by Scott Derrickson). Graeme Manson (Orphan Black) was later hired as showrunner, and James Hawes (The Alienist) signed on to direct the new version. 

The series was renewed for a second season in May 2019, then briefly moved to TBS before heading back to TNT and finally getting a May 2020 premiere date (as a final tweak, that date was moved up from May 31 to May 17). 

Manson discussed the show's long and winding road track to airing on a recent episode of The Hollywood Reporter's TV's Top 5 podcast.