Sunday night’s debut episode of “The Newsroom” on HBO drew 2.1 million viewers at 10 PM. That is a mixed bag ratings-wise for the pay cable network.
The ratings place it just below “Game of Thrones,” which drew 2.2 million viewers in its premiere, though it is far below “Boardwalk Empire” which drew 4.8 million. “Girls,” the HBO comedy that was quickly picked up for a second season after its debut earlier this year, drew 1.1 million viewers in its premiere.
Hour-long dramas like “The Newsroom” are significantly more expensive to produce than half-hour comedies, so the numbers don’t guarantee a second season pickup from HBO. An additional 600,000 viewers watched the encore presentation later in the evening.
The Newsroom is from Aaron Sorkin, the creator of “Sports Night” and “The West Wing,” among other TV series. It stars Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, the anchor of “News Night” at Atlantis Cable News, who has an epiphany and decides to change how he and the network deliver news.
Given the pedigree of Sorkin, Daniels and the rest of the cast, as well as HBO’s very-solid track record when it comes to developing high-quality programming, expectations were high for the program. So far, it looks like there is still work that needs to be done, though the opening numbers are far from a flop.
As we wrote about last week, critical reception was mixed, but skewed towards negative.