‘Doctor Who’ breaks ratings records in the U.S.

But it’s not quite how it sounds. The Mirror:

The first episode of the new Dr Who series was watched by 1.2 million viewers at the weekend.

This is the biggest draw BBC America has ever had. And it’s pretty good for a basic cable channel that doesn’t even reach huge chunks of the American audience — including enormous swaths of the New York Metropolitan Area. But it’s not better than the ratings the show was getting on the Sci Fi Channel (now Syfy): the season four finale had 1.264 million viewers. (Though Matt Smith’s numbers are better on a comparative basis, because fewer people overall are able to watch BBC America.)
Still… With 300 million people in the U.S., under 2 million means Doctor Who is still relegated to cult status. (A hit show like American Idol will get 20 to 30 million viewers for a finale; a show like the excellent FlashForward is likely to be cancelled because it can’t garner more than 6 million viewers per episode.)

By contrast: With only 30 million people in Canada, Matt Smith’s debut still drew 1 million viewers on the network Space, according to The Toronto Star. And with only 60 million people in the U.K., 8 million people there watched Matt Smith’s debut a few weeks ago.

Guess it’s a good thing I’m used to funny looks when I talk about Doctor Who in mixed company.

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