Donald Glover’s Atlanta already has the love of critics, and now it looks like it may have a sizable audience, as well. The FX series, which premiered last Tuesday, drew 1.8 million total viewers with three days of DVR replay factored in. Even more critically, the show garnered 1.2 million telecast viewers in the target demo of adults under 50.
The second figure represents the best premiere for any basic-cable comedy since 2013’s Inside Amy Schumer. Atlanta also stands as the biggest comedy debut for any FX or FXX show since 2011’s Wilfred. Atlanta managed to just hold off Baskets, which debuted last fall on FX with 1.75 million total viewers and 1.05 million adults under 50.
Atlanta benefited enormously from the buzz surrounding the show in advance of the premiere. The critical chatter about the show has been incredible, and the show’s early start gave it a chance to find viewers before they become distracted with too much other fall TV. While Atlanta is not a hit yet, it may eventually become one, which is encouraging in part because of the show’s unique look at black life and culture.
There are also good signs that those who tuned in liked what they saw. 92 percent of people who viewed the first episode chose to stick around for the second, which aired immediately afterwards. Hopefully the show proves to be a hit, and encourages other creators to take bold and imaginative leaps. TV will only be better for it.
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