'Who Is America?' Premiere Draws More Hype Than Viewers

Sacha Baron Cohen's Showtime series has been a controversy magnet, but the audience for Sunday's debut is pretty small.
Gavin Bond/Showtime
'Who Is America?'

Who Is America? generated tons of press for Showtime ahead of its on-air premiere Sunday night, with some of Sacha Baron Cohen's marks helping to market the show with their reactions to being duped by the in-disguise satirist.

The deluge of promotion, however, did not translate to a big audience — although additional airings and early streaming numbers bumped the show up substantially. In terms of hype-to-ratings ratio, Who Is America? is of a piece with Twin Peaks in 2017.

Sunday's 10 p.m. debut delivered 327,000 total viewers and a modest 0.1 rating in the adults 18–49 demographic. 

The 10 o'clock airing delivered just under a third of the total audience for Who Is America? on Sunday. Four additional airings added 375,000 more viewers, per the pay cabler, and streaming and on-demand viewing netted 301,000 for a total just above 1 million.

Showtime also says Who is America? made Sunday the biggest day for signups for its streaming service in 2018. A 10-minute segment of the premiere posted Saturday to YouTube had a little more than 10 million views as of publication time.

The on-air numbers for Who Is America? fall in between those of the shows that bracketed it Sunday on Showtime: The Affair (538,000 viewers) and Our Cartoon President (186,000). But they're a good bit behind the channel's flagship originals like Shameless and Homeland, both of which averaged well above 1 million same-day viewers in their most recent seasons.

Twin Peaks, incidentally, premiered to 506,000 people and a 0.15 in the 18–49 demographic in June 2017 and averaged 287,000 viewers and a 0.1 for its 18-episode run.

July 17, 8:51 a.m. Updated to include additional ratings information from Showtime.