Nielsen estimates that the two-hour premiere of “Klondike” averaged 3.4 million viewers and powered the net to its most-watched Monday ever. A special episode of “Gold Rush” served as a lead-in and drew about the same number of viewers as the movie but fared better in demos.
“Klondike,” based on Charlotte Gray’s novel “Gold Diggers” and starring Richard Madden and Augustus Prew as adventurers in search of gold in the Yukon Wilderness during the 1890s, was put in development a few months after History scored monster numbers (more than 13 million viewers) for its three-night “Hatfields & McCoys.”
Sam Shepard, Abbie Cornish and Tim Roth also star in the mini, which also airs Tuesday and Wednesday. “Klondike” is a co-production between Discovery, independent studio Entertainment One (eOne), and Nomadic Pictures, in association with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions.
Discovery has wanted to get in the scripted game, and thought “Klondike” would be a good complement to its reality skeins like “Gold Rush” and “Jungle Gold.” An original episode of “Gold Rush,” cable’s top-rated Friday series, led into “Klondike” on Monday and drew about 3.47 million viewers.
In adults 25-54, “Klondike” (1.68 million) dropped off from its “Gold Rush” lead-in (2.05 million).
“Klondike” is Discovery’s first scripted effort, but the network has numerous other projects in the works. Among them are a miniseries about 13th century Scotland and “North and South,” based on a trilogy of novels by the same name from John Jakes and centering on Antebellum America and the Civil War.