In 1977, ABC miniseries “Roots” proved to be a phenomenon, raking in an astounding average of 31.9 million households over eight nights. Perhaps that explains why History just re-made the miniseries, though its opening numbers this time around are nowhere near the heights hit by the franchise 39 years ago.
Keep in mind, the decades-old methodology didn’t add up the individuals actually gathered around a screen, and these were the days before multiple TV sets were
In other words, Roots’ historical numbers are HUGE; like, top 100 all-time.
So, yeah, History tried it again last night — and tonight, tomorrow night and Thursday. Who wouldn’t?
Below are the episodic averages from ABC’s original game-changing run, all courtesy of Nielsen.
Part 1: 28.8 million households
Part 2: 31.4 million households
Part 3: 31.9 million households
Part 4: 31.2 million households
Part 5: 32.5 million households
Part 6: 32.7 million households
Part 7: 30.1 million households
Part 8: 36.4 million households
For some added perspective, most of those totals are bigger than a bunch of Super Bowls — and not just the really early ones, either.
Obviously, the way television viewing works these days, History’s numbers weren’t going to come anywhere near the gaudy ones of the disco era. These days, household measurement is considered a bit antiquated, and live ratings have mostly given way to the Live + 7 Day metric. Key demos and total viewers are now the industry standard, though they may soon give way to true cross-platform figures.
Part 2 of the new “Roots” premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on History. A re-airing of Episode 1 will precede that.