John Adams Brings HBO Best Miniseries Debut Since 2004

Parts one and two of HBO’s seven-part John Adams miniseries performed well during their Sunday-night (March 16) premieres. Part one drew 2.5 million viewers at 8 p.m. Part two averaged 2.8 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That was better than any of the miniseries the pay cable network has run since 2004, when Nielsen began tracking ratings of the network apart from its sister digital channels. Empire Falls’ first two parts premiered to 1.7 million and 2.1 million viewers, respectively, in May 2005. Elizabeth I’s first two drew 1.6 million and 800,000 in April 2006. And Tsunami’s first two drew 800,000 and 600,000 in December 2006.

Adams also outperformed all HBO Film premieres since May 2004’s Something the Lord Made.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography by David McCullough, Adams tells the story of America’s founding fathers and stars Paul Giamatti as Adams and Laura Linney as his wife Abigail.

It was co-executive produced by Tom Hanks, who also helped to produce HBO’s Band of Brothers and From the Earth to the Moon.

Both of those drew more viewers upon first glance, although there is no way to make an exact comparison since at the time of their premieres, Nielsen cited HBO’s audiences as an aggregate of all seven of its digital channels, so it is impossible to tell just how many the minis alone attracted.