First six segs punch stellar ratings

By JOHN HOPEWELL AND EMILIANO DE PABLOS

MADRID — Starz miniseries “Pillars of the Earth” has elevated Spanish terrestrial broadcaster Cuatro a little closer to ratings heaven.

Bowing Sept. 14, “Pillars” first six segs aired in double-backed two-hour blocks primetime Tuesdays. Sept. 14 punched 5.1 million and a 31.1% share; Sept. 21 3.9 million for 24%; Sept. 28 3.9 million and 23.4%.

Audience figures for the first two segs were among the highest ever for a foreign series in Spain.

“Cuatro bet on ‘Pillars’. But I’d imagined around 16% and that was at the high end of expectations,” said Cuatro channel director Fernando Jerez.

Cuatro picked up “Pillars” at script stage.

Second and third evenings were still stellar for Cuatro.

Its June and July shares — 8.6% and 7.7% — beat that, but that was thanks to Cuatro’s airing World Cup soccer matches.

Otherwise, Cuatro’s core channel September share was its best since December 2009 (7.7%).

For a channel that has built share as an appointment channel for new U.S. series, led by “House, the importance of “Pillars” goes beyond its eyeballs to its contribution to Cuatro branding.

Produced by Germany’s Tandem and Scott Free Prods., “Pillars” is the first foreign series to really make an impact on Cuatro since “Flash Forward” in September 2009.

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