‘Tina’ Premieres to 1.1 Million Viewers, the Most for an HBO Doc Since 2019’s ‘Leaving Neverland’

So, Tina Turner outdoes the Bee Gees

tina turner
Tina Turner in 1985 (Getty Images)

HBO’s Tina Turner documentary debuted to about 100,000 more viewers than did its December Bee Gees doc.

The debut of “Tina” drew more than 1.1 million total viewers across all HBO platforms on Saturday night, making the the biggest premiere for an HBO documentary since 2019’s “Leaving Neverland.” The Bee Gees documentary, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” bowed to about 1 million total viewers across various HBO platforms.

“Tina” is officially the top doc debut in the HBO Max era. “Leaving Neverland” landed about 1.7 million total viewers with its debut two years ago.

“Leaving Neverland” focused on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who say they were sexually abused by Michael Jackson when they were boys. “Leaving Neverland” was a two-part documentary that also generated an after-show hosted by Oprah Winfrey.

“Tina” is an intimate look at the life and career of musical icon Tina Turner, charting her unlikely rise to early fame, the personal and professional struggles throughout her life, and her even more improbable resurgence as a global star in the 1980s.

The documentary hails from Dan Lindsay, T.J. Martin, Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Diane Becker.

Perhaps the most shocking moment in “Tina” comes roughly an hour into the two-hour film, when one participant says that a top Capitol Records executive once called Turner “an old n—– douchebag.”

That story comes from a 2009 interview with John Carter, the Capitol producer, songwriter and A&R representative credited with reviving Turner’s career in the early 1980s. In audio, included as part of “Tina,” Carter details the conversation that would have occurred sometime in 1982-83, shortly after Carter signed Turner to Capitol over the objections of label executives.

Carter tells the interviewer: “The new regime comes in and like any new regime they have their own idea of what they want to do. So I flip out, go downstairs and I say, hey, this is my act. And the classic quote is, ‘Carter, you signed this old n—– douchebag?’”


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