The nearly two-hour premiere of Starz’ Camelot drew a big ratings sword from the stone on Friday night (OK, lame, I know, but this is the fourth cable ratings story we’ve posted today). The show delivered 1.1 million viewers — tying the record-setting premiere of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena back in January. In a way, Camelot is more impressive because half of this telecast aired on Starz as a special preview after the Gods finale a few weeks back — so a large chunk of this program was essentially a repeat.
So for those keeping score: Showtime’s The Borgias (1.06 million) opened strong, but Camelot performed slightly better in its initial premiere telecast (especially considering Camelot was a partial repeat airing on a Friday on a network with a very short history of running original series). Also, Reelz The Kennedys (1.9 million) was record-setting for the network, but its tough to judge that performance since there’s not much, if any, original programming history on Reelz to compare it to. AMC’s The Killing (2.7 million) did well and drew more than any of the other titles as one would expect since AMC has the widest distribution.
All this news bodes well for HBO’s Game of Thrones, which by the time it airs will likely have the highest profile of all the new spring cable dramas thanks to the popularity of George R.R. Martin’s novels and HBO’s mammoth marketing machine (unless viewers feel weary of swords and robes and thrones due to Borgias and Camelot by the time it airs, but I don’t think that will happen). And is it just me, or are all of these programs more compelling than the freshman dramas we’ve seen on broadcast TV this season?