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'Steel Magnolias' Is Lifetime's 3rd Most-Watched Telecast Ever, Averaging 6.5 Million Total Viewers

by Tambay A. Obenson
October 8, 2012 4:11 PM
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Steel Magnolias

I was anticipating these numbers when I asked you folks what you thought of the movie (Steel Magnolias), in an entry posted earlier today. And despite what seems to be a general disappointment in the movie (based on comments on this site, as well as on Facebook and Twitter), many did tune in to watch - 6.5 million total average, and the 3th most-watched Lifetime telecast ever!

As for Abducted: The Carlina White Story, that averaging 4.1 million total viewers.

THe details via press release from Lifetime below:

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 8, 2012) - The Lifetime Original Movie Steel Magnolias, a television adaptation of the iconic play and 1989 film, reached new heights for the network, averaging 6.5 million Total Viewers in its world premiere last night, becoming Lifetime's third most-watched original telecast ever -- posting its best delivery since 2006 (Life is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story) -- and the number one cable movie among Total Viewers since 2007 (excluding miniseries). Starring and executive produced by Queen Latifah and also starring Phylicia Rashad, Adepero Oduye, Condola Rashad with Jill Scott and Alfre Woodard, the Sony Pictures Television-produced film averaged 3.2 million Adults 25-54 viewers, Lifetime's best delivery in the demographic for a movie in 17 years since the 1995 premiere of Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story, and a cable best since 2006. Among Women 25-54, Steel Magnolias has become Lifetime's most-watched movie in network history with 2.5 million viewers, a cable best since at least 2004, according to Nielsen Research. It also averaged 3.0 million Adults 18-49 viewers (cable's best since 2007), 2.4 million Women 18-49 viewers (cable's best since 2010) and a 4.9 Household rating.

In addition, the movie registered triple-digit increases versus the 2012-to date Lifetime movie average, including +171% among Total Viewers, +266% in Women 18-49, +253 in Adults 18-49, +232% among Women 25-54 and +229% in Adults 25-54, as well as +165% in Household rating. Steel Magnolias was executive produced by Queen Latifah, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Shakim Compere and Shelby Stone, and directed by Kenny Leon.

The Saturday, October 6, world premiere of the Lifetime Original Movie Abducted: The Carlina White Story also generated strong viewership, averaging 4.1 million Total Viewers, as well as 1.8 million Adults 25-54 viewers, 1.6 million Adults 18-49 viewers, 1.4 million Women 25-54 viewers and 1.3 million Women 18-49 viewers. Starring Aunjanue Ellis, Keke Palmer and Sherri Shepherd, Abducted: The Carlina White Story generated a 3.1 Household rating. Immediately following the movie, Lifetime's hour-long documentary Beyond the Headlines: Carlina White averaged 3.5 million Total Viewers, 1.6 million Adults 25-54 viewers, 1.5 million Adults 18-49 viewers, 1.3 million Women 25-54 viewers and 1.2 million Women 18-49 viewers.

"We couldn't be happier with the great response Steel Magnolias and Abducted: The Carlina White Story received from viewers this weekend," said Rob Sharenow, Executive Vice President, Programming, of Lifetime Networks. "These incredible numbers speak to the powerful stories and performances delivered by amazing casts and the strong production teams behind each movie. We are very proud to have partnered with them on these very special films."

Lifetime will encore Steel Magnolias tonight at 8:00 pm ET/PT and Abducted: The Carlina White Story will immediately follow at 10:00pm ET/PT.

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  • Melissa | October 16, 2012 12:07 PMReply

    I very much enjoyed seeing this collection of powerful actresses in the television adaptation of Steel Magnolias. I thought that the show was a good vehicle for Condola to get her name out there and was a good first big project for her. Honestly, I’m a bit partial to the movie because Queen Latifah wore one of my company's products (the Cheetah cape) in the salon scene where the lights go out. Razor Sharp Salon Wear is so proud and excited to be a part of this empowering story of female friendship.

  • James Nelson | October 15, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    I'm happy for Black actresses getting work. They deserve it like no other, but I really am tired of seeing Black versions of mainstream films. I didn't really care about the original Steel Magnolias and it's stereotypical portrayal of the South. I want to see fresh, original new content from Black actors and screenwriters. Afterall you can't build a solid foundation making copies of other peoples stuff. I'm already rolling my eyes at some of the remakes and reboots Hollywood is doing, I don't need Black's following that trend as well. Now is the time to show the world what our visions and stories are. Trust me we have some amazing original stories to tell.

  • kara | October 12, 2012 5:45 PMReply

    Jill S... terrible as Truvy
    Queen Latifah was great
    but my fav was Alfre Woodard...Ouiser she had that role down...

  • Val | October 13, 2012 8:56 AM

    I agree, Jill was horrible. She was doing a White Southern accent.

  • Josh | October 11, 2012 7:05 PMReply

    I was impressed with Keke Palmer's performance in the Carlina White Story. I'm glad she is taking on more mature roles. I would like for her to play Chili in the TLC biopic on VH1. I think Keke can really do Chili justice. I mean, she can sing, dance and act.

    Keke can also play Brandy in a biopic. Hopefully VH1 can also make a Brandy biopic

  • Josh | October 11, 2012 7:01 PMReply

    Queen Latifah should star in and produce a biopic about the legendary jazz singer Pearl Bailey. Queen Latifah could really Pearl Bailey justice. Or get the rights to the Mahalia Jackson biopic (the movie that Fantasia was supposed to star in) and cast Amber Riley from Glee as a young Mahalia and she can play a older Mahalia.

  • Yolanda | October 9, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    Happy the numbers for both movies were high! Still haven't seen the Keke Palmer film though, but saw Steel Magnolias. Can't wait to see what Queen Latifah will produce next for Lifetime or any other network.

  • Camiles | October 9, 2012 5:25 PMReply

    Loved It!!!! Much more than the comparison of old verses new or what color the actresses are.

  • Orville | October 9, 2012 4:00 PMReply

    I think it is good that Queen Latifah is making projects and helping black actresses get work. However, I wish Queen Latifah and her production company get more original movies. Why not make a black lesbian drama? Or a erotic thriller?

  • Mandy | October 9, 2012 2:13 PMReply

    I think its stupid! These characters were white! you cant change it that much and expect it to work. Oh and you who is hoping for more programming for just colored women, dont you think that kinda racist? You guys aleady have your own tv channel your own beauty pagents your own grants... all kinds of stuff thats only for people of color. I am white and my ancestors were irish slaves but you dont see me crying to be treated special. Get over it!

  • kara | October 12, 2012 5:40 PM

    you need some serious help..

  • Bigby | October 9, 2012 2:41 PM

    " I am white and my ancestors were irish slaves but you dont see me crying to be treated special. Get over it!"

    You realize your entire post was you doing exactly that right?

  • lightbronwis | October 9, 2012 8:25 AMReply

    I loved it!! Great movie! We need more of this on TV instead of reality shows.

  • Miles Ellison | October 8, 2012 11:09 PMReply

    Good or bad, this is infinitely preferable to the reality show whorefests on VH-1.

  • Yvette | October 8, 2012 9:13 PMReply

    It was good to see respectable images of Black women on Tv. It is bigger than comparing the two movies."

  • AshleyP | October 8, 2012 10:22 PM


  • JMac | October 8, 2012 6:43 PMReply

    A lot of people watched but it doesn't mean they liked what they saw.

  • Equill | October 8, 2012 8:07 PM

    Agreed. I stayed with it from start to finish because I was hoping it would get better but it never did. It wasn't awful, it is just never a good idea to remake such an iconic movie as it is sure to disappoint. It was a good try.

  • Masha Dowell | October 8, 2012 4:41 PMReply

    I turned my TV on, but I did not really enjoy it. My Facebook timeline LOVED it. So, maybe my opinion SUCKS! lol Anyhow, my mind kept on reflecting on the original. BUT, what I did enjoy the most is that this broadcast indirectly led me to watch the Carlina White story on Lifetime. In that project I deeply enjoyed Aunjanue Ellis's performance.

  • Ashley | October 8, 2012 4:30 PMReply

    Hopefully this will translate into more programming that just for us Black women but for women of color as a whole.

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