National Geographic Channel's 'Killing Lincoln' Sets Record Ratings

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

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February 18th, 2013

via press release:




3.4 Million People Tune in to NGC’s First Original Factual Drama

(WASHINGTON, D.C. — February 18, 2013) National Geographic Channel’s Sunday night premiere of KILLING LINCOLN – the network’s first original factual drama – proved to be the perfect way to honor President’s Day Weekend with stellar ratings that averaged a whopping 2.6 HH rating – tied for the second highest HH in network history – and a 1.1 P25–54 on Sunday, February 17, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.


KILLING LINCOLN also averaged 3.4 million persons 2+ over the entire two-hour premiere, the highest total viewership in NGC’s history!


Furthermore, the 1.1 P25–54 is the highest rated P25-54 since the premiere of SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden in November 2012 (1.4 P25-54), and is more than 175% higher than NGC’s Sunday 8–10 p.m average so far this year (.4 P25–54).


KILLING LINCOLN encores this Saturday, February 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT and 9 p.m. ET/PT.


The film, hailed by critics as “fascinating,” “heart-pounding” and “constantly illuminating,” was narrated on camera by Oscar®-winning actor Tom Hanks, with Billy Campbell (“The Killing,” “Once and Again”) as Lincoln and Jesse Johnson in a breakthrough performance as John Wilkes Booth. Produced by Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions, the film adapts Bill O’Reilly’s best-selling book into a two-hour global television event. Additional cast includes Geraldine Hughes as Mary Todd Lincoln, Graham Beckel as Edwin Stanton, who served as secretary of war under the Lincoln administration, and Shawn Pyfrom as Private John W. Nichols. Shot on location in and around Richmond, Va., Killing Lincoln is directed by director Adrian Moat (“Gettysburg”), written by Emmy Award-winning writer/executive producer Erik Jendresen (“Band of Brothers”) and produced by Mark Herzog’s Herzog & Co. (“Gettysburg”).


Killing Lincoln was our latest effort to expand the original programming we present on the National Geographic Channel, while still maintaining the brand values viewers expect from us,” said Howard T. Owens, President, National Geographic Channels. “The success we saw last night proved that authentic and entertaining are not mutually exclusive, and I think we’ve tapped into a new genre of factual drama that clearly resonates with our audience. Our record ratings would not have been possible without our partnership with Bill O’Reilly, Scott Free Productions and the incredible team that worked on this production.”


“Howard walked into the office on his first day with this book in his hand, and 16 months later to have this success is a true testament to his vision and drive to make this work for our network,” added David Lyle, CEO National Geographic Channels. “Lincoln is clearly enjoying a resurgence in the national zeitgeist, and this demonstrates once again that our viewers are hungry for entertaining, culturally relevant programming.”


“David, Howard and the entire team at National Geographic Channel believed in this project since day one, and were incredibly passionate to make this film work on all levels,” said Ridley Scott. “We could not be more pleased that viewers responded in this way, and look forward to raising the bar even higher with our next collaboration, Killing Kennedy.”


The network used the premiere last night to heavily promote tonight’s six-part event Inside Combat Rescue, and tease this spring’s Brain Games.


Executive producers are Tony Scott and Ridley Scott, as well as David W. Zucker, Mary Lisio, Mark Herzog, Erik Jendresen and Bill O’Reilly. Directed by Adrian Moat. Written by Erik Jendresen. Based on the book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Produced by Christopher G. Cowen and Adrian Moat. Line producer is Larry Rapaport. Narrated by Tom Hanks. Billy Campbell stars as Abraham Lincoln, Jesse Johnson as John Wilkes Booth. Geraldine Hughes stars as Mary Todd Lincoln, Graham Beckel as Edwin Stanton and Shawn Pyfrom as Private John W. Nichols. For National Geographic Channel, executive producers are Howard T. Owens, Charlie Parsons, Teri Weinberg and Richard E. Wells.

  • Joe D

    Get out the Bingo cards – one more excuse as to why network shows were low Sunday night ):

  • Randy H.

    Watched it and it was awesome.

  • cory

    Its funny how they say, highest ratings for this and that. Then you see Walking Dead ratings.

  • The Rookie

    @cory, yes TWD is a monster. But AMC is not a niche network anymore, as it is actually catering and getting mainstream viewers. But maybe for NatGeo, this ratings means more exposure and more interest in people that never watch the channel to check it out. Which is good where you are 1 in 200 channels that viewers can actually check out on any evening. :)

  • AppleStinx

    Good for the National Geographic Channel. I haven’t watched it since the documentary of a lion killing adult cheetahs (for no apparent reason). I keep thinking that the filmmakers/researchers, who had been observing the cheetahs for some time, betrayed them to satisfy their curiosity.

  • Douglas in TN

    Bill O’Reilly sure is making lots of money on books he didn’t right. I wish more credit would go to the actual author of the books, Martin Dugard.

  • nancy cary

    hey douglas it is write, not right !

  • AppleStinx

    How close were the filmmakers to the cheetahs? Pretty close, I would say. The female cheetah (in heat) at some point had climbed a tall tree to stay safe when she spotted the lion. The camera had a straight line of view and then it was at an angle suggesting proximity to the base of the tree. They saw how shaky she was. That was the angle showing the female cheetah leaving the tree top. Who knows, maybe the filming crew gave her a sense of security, or maybe she was bothered by it more than being scared of the lion. She was later killed by the lion, and the researches still had the nerve to state that cheetahs are endangered species.

  • Diane

    If you missed Killing Lincoln, then set you DVR’s and plan on repeat viewing. TV programing at its best.

  • Regni

    I am disappointed about Billy O’Reilly’s mercantile book “Killing Lincoln”.
    If you want to see a real good movie go to see “Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg and screen writer Tony Kushner.

  • crgshd

    Pretty good. History channel’s version was much better though.

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