Even before “Outlander” even officially premiered on Starz, we were starting to get a solid inclination that this was going to be a show with ratings that almost everyone at the network could get behind. The show obviously had its fair share of fans built-in thanks to the book series, but the early sentiment is that they did a great job with the conversion.
So how many people ended up watching in total? Slightly over 700,000, but remember that the pilot was available on YouTube for a week in advance, and this is a Saturday night on a premium cable channel with a smaller subscriber count than HBO or Showtime. Per Variety, it had over 2.3 million viewers watch it on Starz alone throughout the weekend, and early reports of the other viewing avenues (including on-demand and more) put the overall audience at 3.7 million. That would put the show above the previous premiere record set by “Black Sails.”
With all due respect to the pirate drama, we feel like there is much more potential in the end for this to be a massive hit. There is more of a preexisting following here, and so far buzz has been better as a whole. We still feel like this could be one of those series that eventually makes Starz into more of a player, and the time is certainly right. Showtime is struggling to find a great replacement for “Dexter,” and “Homeland” and to a lesser extent “Masters of Sex” are in a little bit of a slump.
Still, let’s not get too excited without seeing the rest of season 1. There is still a long ways to go, and many things can change within this span of time.