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Here’s How Audiences Are Reacting to TNT’s ‘The Alienist’

One of TV’s most high-profile shows right now is also one of the industry’s most closely watched experiments. TNT is banking on appealing to the massive audience that loves crime-solving narratives (e.g., the Law & Order reruns that are a staple on the network) with its brand-new original prestige drama The Alienist, based on the best-selling novel by Caleb Carr. The 10-episode series, reportedly the most expensive ever for the network, premiered Jan. 22. To give you an idea of just how much TNT believes in the show, consider the massive push the network has been giving it — topping a recent B&C Promo Mojo ranking, making it the most-promoted programming across all of television.

According to Canvs, the emotion measurement company, the show so far — which includes TNT’s “sneak peek” that aired a day before the official premiere, plus the premiere itself — was one of the top five most reacted-to programs in the drama/crime genre on cable TV in the last 90 days. 

Related: ‘Alienist’ at Long Last Adapted, And It’s Not the First Rodeo for ‘Baskets’ 

The Alienist also has the highest reaction rate (42.9%) of any of TNT’s crime/drama shows within the past year (reaction rate refers to the number of reactions out of total tweets, meaning that viewers were most likely to express emotions around the show).

When it comes to the actual emotions viewers are expressing, love dominates with 28.8%, followed by excitement (19.4%) and enjoyment (17.2%).

So, uh, #TheAlienist is quite good

— Tyler (@theDethloon) January 22, 2018

I'm in love with #TheAlienist

— Tiffany (@GoAheadLily) January 22, 2018

Dakota Fanning, who plays the character Sara Howard, has been the most-mentioned name in ERs surrounding the show thus far, with some viewers talking about how much they love her and others saying they can’t believe how grown up she is (she came to fame as a child actress but is now 23).

Also worth noting: TNT itself was a frequent topic of conversation around the show this week, with people declaring intent to tune into the network specifically to watch its new drama. In fact, more than 10M viewers have tuned in to The Alienist, nearly half of whom are new to TNT entertainment programming. 

According to, which has attention and conversion data from more than seven million smart TVs, among the top-spending brands in the first two installments were Fox Searchlight Pictures, the University of Phoenix and Boost Mobile.

Notably, the University of Phoenix had one of the highest Attention Indices — 151 — meaning that its ads received 51% fewer interruptions than average (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV).