Sunday night’s premiere of HBO’s The Pacific was watched by 3.1 (3.079) million viewers another 900,000 or so caught the encore telecast bringing the cumulative total for the night to 4 million. I warned you last week not to expect numbers anywhere near the level of the premiere of Band of Brothers in 2001, which opened to 10 million. Changing TV viewing landscapes including more DVR, more On Demand and more choice in general — I would’ve been shocked if it got anywhere near Band of Brothers territory.
On the other hand, I expected it to do as well as, say, the average telecast of True Blood in season two. It didn’t.
It’s not the number itself that makes the result disappointing. What makes it disappointing is HBO spent massively on marketing and even more massively producing the miniseries. While HBO has plenty of opportunity and years to recoup all its costs (and I imagine it will) the number for the premiere was still disappointing.
Do the ratings really matter? Not in the sense they will pull the miniseries off the air. But the miniseries’ premiere couldn’t have created the buzz HBO was hoping for in terms of generating new subscribers. The big money to come will be in licensing and DVDs, but even there, based on these early numbers I wouldn’t look for it to do nearly as well as Band of Brothers.
Things could turn around, or, next week the premiere telecast might only draw 2 million. We’ll see.
P.S. For those keeping score at home, The Pacific averaged a 1.1 rating with adult 18-49.