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Showtime dug into Fox News on Sunday night with its long-awaited (and star-studded) Roger Ailes miniseries The Loudest Voice. The inaugural telecast averaged a modest 299,000 initial viewers for the premium cable network, with replays and digital viewing doubling that tally.
The Loudest Voice’s premiere comes after months of press about the exposé on Ailes building Fox News into a right-wing mouthpiece and his years of abuse against women. It also comes before a rival project, a still-untitled feature from Jay Roach.
By Showtime standards, the premiere performed below the debut of its lead-in City on a Hill (532,000) two weeks ago and was a bit behind the initial tune-in for its last limited series, Escape at Dannemora (397,000). Replays (152,000) and streaming (200,000) pushed the Sunday total to 651,000, which Showtime says is in line with other recent limited-series debuts.
Most Showtime series grow significantly with the addition of time-shifting, streaming views and the cable suite’s ample encores. Billions, for example, never cracks 1 million viewers on its premiere night. But the flagship drama’s most recent season averaged 4.2 million viewers an episode, all told.
As for the network’s relatively infrequent stabs in the limited arena, they too often build on modest debuts. The most recent and appropriate comparison is Ben Stiller awards bait Escape at Dannemora. Following the 397,000 initial viewers for its debut, the seven-part series, which quickly nabbed Patricia Arquette a Golden Globe, grew over its run to 719,000 by the finale, still before lifts from other platforms.
The seven-part The Loudest Voice airs Sundays on Showtime through Aug. 11.
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