1:55pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: BET's 'New Edition' Miniseries Was a Massive Hit
It seems unlikely that BET brass had any idea how well The New Edition Story would play with their audience. Because it played very, very well.
The three-night event, an extended biopic of the famous boy band turned R&B group, averaged 5.4 million viewers with live-plus-three-day Nielsen returns now in. That's enough to make it cable's top scripted effort of the week and the young year.
Across premiere telecasts, encores and plays on BET and sister-net Centric, the Viacom-owned network credits The New Edition Story with reaching 29 million viewers — a stunning 15.7 million of them in the targeted demo of adults 18-49.
Looking at just the premiere telecasts, the project held remarkably steady over its three-night run, kicking off with 5.5 million viewers, dipping a shade to 5.3 million viewers and ultimately claiming 5.6 million viewers for the finale.
It's an incredible boon to BET, which has admittedly modest scripted offerings these days with the exception of flagship Being Mary Jane. (Kevin Hart starrer The Real Husbands of Hollywood wrapped its fifth and final season in December.) Outside of tentpole events like the BET Awards, The New Edition Story gave the network its most-watched telecasts since the season-five premiere of The Game in 2012.
The best-case scenario for BET is that all of the attention around the New Edition miniseries will translate to similarly strong numbers for Wednesday's Nelson Mandela biopic Madiba.