Monday, May 27, 2024

Ratings: “Leaving Neverland” Not a Ratings Smash for HBO, Beaten by “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Beachfront Bargain Hunt,” Survivalists Show


After all that, “Leaving Neverland” was not a smash hit on Sunday night. Modest hit maybe is the best way of describing it.

The controversial Michael Jackson doc attracted just 1.285 million viewers at 8pm on HBO. It was beaten by “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Beachfront Bargain Hunt,” and the survivalists series “Naked and Afraid,” all on cable.

If it had competed with network shows, “Leaving Neverland” tied with a rerun of “Bob’s Burger’s” on Fox.

The top rated cable show of the evening was “The Walking Dead,” itself dying with just 4.7 million viewers at 9pm on AMC.

“Leaving Neverland” had more publicity than any show in 2019 on any channel. It’s possible that the ratings will rise via repeated viewings over several days including other HBO outlets. But the build up to the 8pm showing on Sunday was the target, and it wasn’t the hot button everyone anticipated.

A million more viewers– 2.3 million– tuned into a Hallmark Hall of Fame cable romcom show called “When Calls the Heart,” just to give you an idea. And that was like watching warm milk cool.

Did the Jackson supporters warn people away from “Leaving Neverland”? Possibly. Or just the shock value? But in the end it may not have been worth it for HBO ratings-wise. On Saturday night, HBO scored a better total number at 8pm with a showing of a bad movie called “Skyscraper.”


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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