Nielsen Streaming Ratings: Netflix’s ‘Manifest’ Scores the Year’s Biggest SVOD Audience So Far

(Image credit: Warner Bros. TV)

We might never know just what top-secret internal metrics Netflix was considering when it decided not to carry on with a fourth season of recently cancelled NBC series Manifest.

For reasons as mysterious to us as a long-missing airliner suddenly and inexplicably reappearing in a hangar somewhere, the pure, simple arithmetic of domestic viewership doesn’t appear to have factored into Netflix’s decision-making.

Nielsen Streaming Rankings June 14-20

(Image credit: Nielsen)

Netflix’s offset run of the supernatural drama garnered a whopping 2.49 billion viewing minutes during the week of June 14-20, making it the most watched program on the four biggest domestic SVOD in the U.S., according to Nielsen.

Not just for that week, but for all of 2021. You have to go back to late December, when the Netflix original series hit Bridgerton premiered to 2.648 billion viewing minutes, to find a bigger SVOD performance. 

The 29 episodes that make up the first two seasons of the series began streaming on Netflix June 10. On June 14, NBC cancelled the show after three seasons. The Season 3 finale aired June 10 on NBC. (Netflix licensed Seasons 1 and 2 of the show. There’s no word if it will also pick up Season 3, but the streaming company has already said that it won’t commit to putting the series back in production for a fourth season. 

The single-camera series—a Warner Bros. and Universal co-production—was created by David E. Kelly disciple Jeff Rake and co-exec produced by Robert Zemeckis. 

Manifest is focused on the crew and passengers of a commercial airliner which disappears, then suddenly reappears, five years after everyone onboard is presumed dead. It first premiered on NBC in September 2018. After the cancellation announcement in June, the series’ fans urged Netflix to make a fourth season of the show.  Rake took to Twitter himself, thanking these “Manifesters,” while touting a six-season story plan for the show he said he’d had in his back pocket since the beginning. 

Like Montego Air Flight 828, Rake’s mission will likely remain incomplete.

Nielsen Streaming Ratings - Original Series June 14-20

(Image credit: Nielsen)

Meanwhile, after just three days on Disney Plus, Pixar animated film Luca came in No. 2, with 1.57 billion viewing minutes. 

The coming-of-age adventure set in Italy is Pixar’s 24th feature-length animated film. Directed by Enrico Caraosa, Luca is focused on two young boys who form an unlikely but strong friendship while they’re actually sea monsters disguised as humans. Disney executives didn’t release the film in theaters as planned, but instead solely on Disney Plus surprisingly without a $30  “Premium Access” surcharge.

In third place for the week ending June 20, Netflx’s offnet run of Downton Abbey delivered 1.25 billion viewing minutes. 

Nielsen Weekly Rankings - Movies June 14-20

(Image credit: Nielsen)

Netflix ended its original Downton Abbey licensing contract with PBS all the way back in February 2013. But on June 1, all six seasons and 50 episodes of the PBS period drama were back up on the top SVOD. The show, about the noble Crawley family, is set in the early 20th century England and created and co-written by Julian Fellowes. The series ran between 2010 and 2015 and also featured a movie spin-off in 2019. 

Coming in at No. 4 was Disney Plus series Loki, Marvel’s third television series to debut on the streaming service.

The first two episodes of the six-part series tallied 886 million on Disney Plus for June 14-20. Like sibling “MCU” Disney Plus original shows WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which premiered in January and March respectively, Loki episodes are released on a weekly basis.

The show follows villain Loki (actor Tom Hiddleston) as he resumes his role as the God of Mischief after the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame.

Meanwhile, in its first three days on Netflix, the Kevin Hart drama Fatherhood garnered 877 million viewing minutes, putting the movie in the No. 5 spot for the week ending June 20. According to Netflix, the film, adapted from Matthew Logelin’s novel Two Kisses For Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love, was No. 1 on the streaming platform in 82 countries after its release. Netflix also projected that 61 million households would watch some portion of the movie within its first four weeks.

Based on a true story, about a father who had to raise his daughter as a single dad after the death of his wife, the film stars Hart and Alfre Woodard, who plays Hart’s mother-in-law.

Fatherhood was supposed to be theatrically released by Sony Pictures on April 3, 2020, but in March 2021 it was announced that it would go to Netflix via a licensing deal, not a full-on acquisition.

After three weeks of drawing over a billion viewing minutes and leading the U.S. SVOD business, Netflix’s Lucifer dropped to the No. 6 spot. The four-season, 83 episode supernatural-themed series ,cancelled by FOX, but rescued for a fourths season by Netflix, garnered 703 million viewing minutes for June 14-20.

Netflix released the second leg of Lucifer’s Season 5 campaign on May 28. Lucifer ran on FOX for three seasons before being canceled. Netflix brought the Warner Bros. TV series back to life for a fourth season in 2018. In June 2020, the streaming service announced renewal of Lucifer for a sixth and final season.

Netflix’s Sweet Tooth dropped from the No. 1 spot to the No. 7 week over week, losing 624 million viewing minutes. The eight-episode Warner Bros. TV-produced series, which launched on Netflix June 4, garnered 626 million view minutes from June 14-20. 

The adaptation of DC Vertigo’s eponymous comic, written and drawn by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth was developed by Team Downey, the production company set up by Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan.

Nielsen Weekly Rankings - Acquired Series June 14-20

(Image credit: Nielsen)

Previous Weekly Rankings:

June 14-20: Netflix’s ‘Sweet Tooth’ Shows Bite for the Week of June 7-13

June 7-13: Netflix’s ‘Lucifer’ Bedevils SVOD’s Biggest Audience Since Season 3 of 'Cobra Kai’ Debuted in January

May 31-June 6: Netflix’s ‘Lucifer’ Has SVOD’s Biggest Week* Since ‘Coming 2 America’ Debuted in Early-March

May  17-23: Zack Snyder’s ‘Army of the Dead’ on Netflix Leads a Rather Lifeless Week for the U.S. Streaming Biz

May 10-16: ‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ Not Good Enough For Netflix to Renew, But Strong Enough to Lead the Week of May 10-16

May 3-9: Netflix’s $100 Million Bet on Sony’s ‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ Pays Off

April 26 - May 2: Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ Edges Hulu’s ‘Handmade’s Tale' in Rebound Week for the Streaming Biz

April 19-25: Netflix’s ‘NCIS’ Off-net Run Wins Another ‘Easttown and Down' Week for the U.S. SVOD Biz

April 12-18: Disney Plus’ ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Builds to 855 Million Streaming Minutes and a No. 1 Finish

April 5-11: Give Netflix's 'Thunder Force' Five for Winning the Week of April 5-11

March 29 - April 4: Netflix’s ‘The Irregulars’ Tops the Easter Week Charts

March 22-28: - 'Falcon and Winter Soldier' Tops SVOD Originals


March 15-21: - 'Grey's Anatomy' Re-Runs Top SVOD Ranker

March 8-14: - ‘The Crown’ Got Royal Gains from Meghan’s Big Oprah Interview

March 1-7: - Amazon Tops the Charts for the First Time with ‘Coming 2 America’

Feb 22-28: - Netflix’s 'Ginny & Georgia' Leads the SVOD Biz