“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” had a gangbusters premiere for A&E Tuesday night. The 10 p.m. airing drew 2.1 million viewers in total for the network — the best premiere since “Big Smo” in 2014. More than half those viewers, 1.1 million, were in A&E’s target demographic of 25-54, and the show brought in a healthy number of viewers in the 18-49 demographic (913,000, or around a 0.7 rating).
For comparison’s sake, “Scientology and the Aftermath” outdrew a few broadcast shows in total viewers and the 18-49 demo, including Fox’s “Scream Queens” and the CW’s “No Tomorrow,” by a wide margin.
The eight-episode docuseries follows Remini, who belonged to the Church of Scientology for more than 30 years, as she gathers stories from fellow ex-members, accompanied by former high-ranking Scientologists. The stories are sobering, full of alleged abuses and broken families. (The Church disputes all of the stories related in the series, and has launched a website dedicated to that purpose, in addition to releasing several statements on the show.)
Remini’s departure came a few years after producer Paul Haggis’ high-profile split with the church and just months after the publication of Lawrence Wright’s “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief,” which served as the basis for Haggis’ HBO documentary of the same name. Remini came out with a memoir, “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology” in 2015.
“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” is produced for A&E Network by the Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC). Executive producers for IPC are Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman. Remini serves as executive producer for her No Seriously Productions. Alex Weresow serves as showrunner and executive producer. Remini is represented by APA, which packaged the project, art2perform, and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof Fishman.