The Weeknd in "The Idol" and James Cromwell in "Succession"
ManOfTheCenturyMovie News The debut of ‘The Idol’ wasn’t a ‘succession’ finale, but was it a success?

The debut of ‘The Idol’ wasn’t a ‘succession’ finale, but was it a success?

The Weeknd in "The Idol" and James Cromwell in "Succession"

“The Idol” Sunday night audience was nothing to idolize, but it’s a start. A start of what, exactly? Only time will tell.

The first of five episodes of Sam Levinson’s series starring The Weeknd and Lily Rose-Depp drew 913,000 viewers across linear (HBO) and streaming (Max), according to the research team on those same platforms. That’s not much, even if “The Idol” had to contend with Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Speaking of the NBA, the premiere of ‘The Idol’ came in a bit higher than the 2022 HBO comedy-drama debut ‘Winning Time’ (901,000 viewers).

In a memo sent to IndieWire, an HBO/Max spokesperson was quick to point out that, these days, only about 10-20 percent of viewers per episode of their Sunday series actually happen on Night 1. Case in point : “Winning Time Episodes ended up averaging 1.2 million viewers each Sunday, but with HBO’s unique (and yes, affordable) approach to measuring delayed viewing, those episodes each brought in 6 million viewers by the end of the first season — calculation below.

In 2021, a then unknown (and therefore limited) series “The White Lotus” Season 1 bowed to 944,000 viewers. That season, new episodes averaged 1.1 million viewers on Sunday, a number that has ballooned to 9.3 million with what HBO calls its “average episodic audience.”

Phenomena often arise on demand. But then there’s “The Last of Us,” which regularly drew 8 million series eyeballs each Sunday on HBO and HBO Max (as it was then known). There are hits and then there are big hits.

We’ll get (and share) delayed viewing stats for “The Idol” throughout the season.

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Last Sunday, May 28, marked the series finale for HBO’s Sunday series ‘Succession’ and ‘Barry.’ It also marked the middle of Memorial Day weekend, which can slow audiences down.

The “Succession” finale drew 2.928 million viewers – a new record for the series – that night. “Barry” drew an audience of 700,000; was delayed 30 minutes due to the long ending of “Succession”. “The Idol” is now in the regular “Succession” timeslot.

According to HBO’s “Average Episodic Viewership” data, “Succession” episodes averaged 8.7 million viewers each in Season 4. The same statistic for “Barry” brought each episode of the final season to 3.4 million viewers.

As promised, here’s how those giant leaps work: HBO and Max delay-watch each episode from night one through the length of the season. So for the 401st episode of “Succession,” which premiered March 26 on HBO and Max, “the average episodic audience” counts more than two months of viewers in its combined figure.

“The Idol” doesn’t (yet, at least) have the fan base or critical adoration amassed by four excellent seasons of “Succession.” The miniseries received a lot of press attention from the long and messy run-up to its final release, and the provocative material that landed in front of the camera was likely eclipsed by all the drama that went on behind the scenes.

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