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Twin Peaks debuts to slow TV ratings, record Showtime signups

Photo: Suzanne Trenner/Showtime

Expecting Twin Peaks to replicate the success of its premiere on ABC—which pulled in 34 million people on April 8, 1990—on a premium cable network like Showtime is futile. But Deadline still seems disappointed to report that the extra-Lynchian season three premiere of the newly revived series pulled in 506,000 live viewers this past Sunday night, decent but not outstanding ratings for such a highly anticipated show. What that report fails to account for, however, is the fact that subscribers who watched the show through Showtime’s streaming channel or through Showtime On Demand could watch episodes three and four as early as Sunday night, experiencing the joy of Wally Brando a full week before their cable-bound counterparts. As a result—or simply due to the rise of cord cutting—the network reportedly experienced the single biggest weekend of signups in its history in the lead-up to the premiere. (It got my money.) Numbers for streaming have yet to be tallied, but we can assume that, like the owls, the initial ratings are not what they seem.

Episodes three and four of Twin Peaks air on Showtime proper this coming Sunday, with the remainder of the 18-episode season rolling out at a pace of one episode per week, both on cable and on streaming, through the rest of the summer.


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