'Fargo' premiere ratings lukewarm

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Ah geez: While FX’s Fargo miniseries is drawing strong praise from critics (including our own) and viewers, Tuesday’s premiere ratings were a tad slushy, don’t ya know: A total of 4.2 million viewers tuned in for the first episode, with 1.8 million adults 18-49 (and that includes the drama’s first two encore telecasts).

That’s about the same as the launch of FX’s The Bridge last summer, a title that lacked the name recognition and star power of Fargo (which has a cast that includes Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton). You could also compare it to FX’s The Americans, which delivered 4.7 million viewers for its series premiere last January, and was just renewed for a third season Wednesday.

Still, FX is pretty thrilled with the show’s reception: “We are incredibly proud of the towering creative achievement by [writer] Noah Hawley and everyone involved with Fargo,” said John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks. “The performances … are nothing short of extraordinary. This is truly one of the best shows we’ve ever had on the network. We’re thrilled with the initial viewership last night and really excited for audiences to see the rest of the miniseries.”

If you missed the premiere, FX is giving you three more chances to catch up on the serialized small-town murder drama. The first episode will repeat shortly after midnight Wednesday night, Thursday, and Saturday (check listings). If you watched last night, be sure to check out our Q&A with Freeman about the premiere’s most shocking scene.

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