6.3 mil watch Minghella series on BBC1


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LONDON -- More than 6 million viewers tuned in to Anthony Minghella's final television project, "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," when it aired Easter Sunday on BBC1.

"Agency," which attracted 6.3 million viewers and a 27% share of the audience in its 9 p.m. slot, next airs as a backdoor pilot on HBO.

Before Minghella's death last week, the U.S. cable network ordered 13 episodes of the potential series from the Weinstein Co. Whether the project will move forward as a series without the director's participation remains up in the air.

The decision to maintain the Easter airdate for the 105-minute film, co-written with Richard Curtis and based on the book series by Alexander McCall Smith, was supported by Minghella's family.

Starring R&B singer Jill Scott, the drama centers on Precious Ramotswe, who sets up Botswana's first all-ladies detective agency after the death of her father.

The broadcast attracted almost twice the viewing of the nearest competitor, the ITV1 crime thriller "He Kills Coppers," which attracted 3.8 million viewers and a 15% audience share.

Chad Williams in Los Angeles contributed to this report.