It definitely feels like every sentient person on Earth loves Donald Glover’s FX show Atlanta, but sometimes we might feel like we’re in some kind of good-taste bubble and the real world out there isn’t paying attention to the good stuff. After all, Glover himself admitted he had to “Trojan horse” FX when pitching the show just to get the project greenlit.
It’s nice, then, to know that there are actual objective numbers to back up what everyone already feels in their hearts: Atlanta is one of the best shows on TV right now, and Season 2 is just as good as Season 1. According to a press release, the premiere episode of Atlanta Robbin’ Season boasts the best ratings of any recent basic cable comedy.
A combined 2.7 million total viewers saw the first episode of Atlanta last week either as it premiered, during one of the two encores, or on digital streaming through March 1 to March 3. To break that down, 1.3 million adults aged 18 to 49 saw the show, which is more people than any basic cable primetime scripted comedy telecast since the third episode of Season 12 of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia back in January 2017.
In addition, time-shifted viewing showed robust gains. Time-shifted viewing is the complicated, network-lingo way of referring to the recording of a television show to be watched later on, like on a DVR. In adults aged 18 to 49, Atlanta’s Season 2 premiere saw a 123 percent boost on time-shifted viewing and a 109 percent boost across total viewers between those who saw it live and those who saw it within the first three days of release.
In fact, this year’s season premiere did even better than last year’s, something that one show's directors, Hiro Murai, told Rolling Stone was on the creators' minds at all times. Looking at numbers across television and streaming for the first three days following the show’s premiere, this year’s season premiere was up seven percent adults aged 18 to 49 than Season 1.
The amount of total viewers who saw both premieres was the same: 1.8 million people. The Robbin’ Season premiere ranked as a top 3 program in all key demographics, including with adults aged 18 to 49 (1.3 million), adults aged 18 to 34 (671,000) and adults aged 25-54 (1.2 million).
FX expects that these numbers will increase significantly over time. To date, the first season of Atlanta has averaged 5.2 million total viewers across all platforms since its premiere in September 2016. Although we only have numbers for the season premiere for now, it seems like the trend is for these numbers and percentages to keep increasing. That means more freedom for Glover and his team to execute their creative vision and provide us with even more content.