TV Ratings: 'Roots' Pulls 14 Million Viewers During Premiere Week

With DVR and encores, the first episode surges — boding well for overall returns.
Steve Dietl/History

Roots continue to climb for History. With initial time-shifting and encores across the A+E Networks suite, the first episode has now grossed 14.4 million viewers.

That's 6.9 million viewers, thanks to live-plus-three-day ratings, and another 7.5 million from repeat telecasts. A release from the network on Tuesday also touted a cumulative 50.6 million viewers across all linear Roots telecasts during the week ending June 5 — though that number is dramatically north of the number of viewers who likely watched each episode in full.  

“These viewership totals emphasize that today’s audiences look to appointment weeks instead of appointment nights when making their viewing decisions,” said A+E president and CEO Nancy Dubuc. “All of us at A+E Networks are incredibly proud of Roots and its critical acclaim and cultural resonance. Early indicators suggest that Roots will enjoy spectacular audience growth once all non-linear viewership becomes available.”

The tail growth for Roots was always going to determine its success, but the premiere week's live hauls did not hurt. The miniseries kicked off with 5.3 million viewers, holding mostly steady before landing with 4.2 million viewers on the fourth night. Two out for four episodes also faced pretty daunting competition from the NBA Finals, which aired on both Monday and Thursday of that week.