Please wait...
Please wait...
Script competition

Nat Geo drama smashes ratings record

The trend for fact-based dramas on traditionally factual-skewing US cablenets shows no sign of abating, with Nat Geo recording its highest ever ratings for the premiere of Killing Lincoln.

Sunday’s two-hour premiere of the Scott Free-produced drama attracted 3.4 million viewers.

Executive produced by Ridley Scott, the show drew an audience of 1.1 million in the key 25-54 demographic, the most for a Nat Geo show since Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, another fact-based drama that debuted in November.

Killing Lincoln is Nat Geo’s first original scripted series. An adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s book about the assassination of President Lincoln, it is narrated by Tom Hanks and stars Billy Campbell. Scott Free is already working on a follow-up for Nat Geo called Killing Kennedy.

Encore airings take place in the US this Saturday February 23 at 19.00 and the show is due to roll out around the world on National Geographic International Channels.

The factual-skewing US cable channels have all rushed to commission drama projects since History drew an audience of more than 14 million with Hatfields & McCoys, starring Kevin Costner. History will try to emulate that success with Vikings later this year, while Discovery has also greenlit its first attempt at the genre, in the shape of Klondike.

But producers have been warned that the small number of commissions on offer means the trend isn’t going to be a pot of gold for indies.

Howard T Owens, president of National Geographic Channels, said: “The success we saw last night proved that authentic and entertaining are not mutually exclusive, and I think we’ve tapped into a new genre of factual drama that clearly resonates with our audience.”











Please wait...