TV Ratings: Ava DuVernay's 'Queen Sugar' Gets Promising Start on OWN

 The back-to-back premiere episodes, which aired Tuesday and Wednesday, averaged 2.4 million viewers.
Andrew Dosunmu/OWN

The Oprah Winfrey Network's latest foray into scripted originals had a strong performance out of the gate.

Before any time-shifting, Queen Sugar's two-night premiere averaged 2.4 million viewers and a 1.9 rating in the network's targeted demographic of women 25-54.

The first night, which aired after an original of Tyler Perry powerhouse The Haves and the Have Nots, did not match the launch highs of Greenleaf earlier this summer — but its second night retention was much more impressive. Queen Sugar shed little more than 500,000 viewers without its Tyler Perry lead-in on Wednesday, pulling 2.14 million viewers.

Queen Sugar, which has already been renewed for a second season and has received a warm reception from critics, is a different kind of scripted series for OWN. The network's continued push into drama has thus far skewed more soap than prestige. "This is a familiar story, and the characters are recognizable," wrote THR TV critic Daniel Fienberg, "but the room they're given to breath — and the beautifully captured locations, from the main sprawling sugar field to every carefully shot family — feels fresh."

After its two-night opener, Queen Sugar settles into its regular airing schedule next week, with premiere episodes at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesdays.