Whether it can generate the same level of lasting enthusiasm remains to be seen, but the premiere of “Sharp Objects” did draw a bigger live TV audience than fellow HBO series “Big Little Lies.”
According to live+same-day data posted by Showbuzz, Sunday’s “Sharp Objects” premiere drew a 0.45 adults 18-49 rating and averaged 1.54 million overall viewers.
“Big Little Lies” posted a 0.31 rating and 1.13 million viewers for its inaugural episode on February 19, 2017.
“Sharp Objects” also outperformed the premiere of HBO’s “The Night Of” (0.26 rating and 0.77 million viewers on July 10, 2016), although that show was available for streaming weeks before official launching on TV.
In addition to generating immense critical acclaim, awards attention and substantial buzz, those two series also enjoyed huge ratings upticks in the weeks following their premieres. “The Night Of” shot up in the immediate weeks following its premiere (expected given the premiere’s early launch on streaming services), before closing its season with a 0.86 rating and 2.16 million L+SD viewers.
“Big Little Lies” took more time to explode from a ratings standpoint but ultimately reached a 0.66 rating and 1.86 million viewer mark for its season finale.
It is unclear whether “Sharp Objects” will enjoy a similar trajectory, but it is also important to note that live+same-day ratings only reflect a fraction of the audience for most HBO shows. The premium network’s programs tend to receive significant lifts from encore, DVR, on-demand and streaming viewing.
As such, while none of the aforementioned ratings may warrant a “smash hit” label, none is problematic given the HBO model.