The premiere episode of the updated Roots miniseries drew a strong 5.3 million viewers Monday night across its simultaneous airings on History, Lifetime and A&E.
The number was enough to make Roots the most watched scripted miniseries premiere in Nielsen live-plus-same day ratings in three years — since “2013’s “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Bible.”
Broken down into target demos, the Roots premiere was seen by 2.1 million adults 25-54 and 1.8 million adults 18-49.
Roots represents what television can do when it’s at its best,” said Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A+E Networks. “This project has helped shape the discourse around race and identity at a time when it is needed more than ever. We are looking forward to audiences continuing to experience this powerful and important event over the next three nights.”
The ratings may have been higher had a record-breaking audience not tuned in to TNT’s game seven of the NBA Western Conference Finals at the same time. Nearly 16 million viewers watched the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 to clinch a berth in the NBA Finals.
ABC’s original eight-part Roots miniseries is among the most-watched programs in television history, opening to 28.8 million viewers and ultimately climbing to 36.4 million in 1977.
Episode two of the reboot will premiere at 9 p.m. ET on History.