'Steve Jobs: The Man in the
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Steve Jobs biopics may have struggled on the bigscreen, but CNN found success Sunday night with the premiere of its original documentary film “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.”

In its first airing on the network, the Alex Gibney-directed “Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine” stood as the night’s No. 1 program on the cable news networks, averaging 1.15 million viewers and 455,000 in the key news demo of adults 25-54, according to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen. During the 9 p.m. time period, CNN outdrew its combined MSNBC-Fox News Channel competition in the demo.

The premiere rates as the third most popular to date in the CNN Films franchise. “Glen Campbell … I”ll Be Me” remains the top-rated (2.76 million viewers, including 510,000 adults 25-54), and “Blackfish” ranks second (1.36 million viewers, including 472,000 adults 25-54).

A second Sunday airing of “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine,” at 11 p.m., also won its time period with 720,000 viewers and 312,000 adults 25-54. CNN is also giving the documentary primetime exposure with encores this Friday (9 p.m. ET) and Saturday (8 p.m. ET).

The network has made an aggressive push into the documentary and docuseries area in recent years, which will continue in 2016. Among them, former FX host W. Kamau Bell and author Reza Aslan will each host a new docu-series, while actor Kevin Spacey will produce and narrate a new series focused on various presidential races.

The two biopics about the Apple co-founder, including the current Oscar contender “Steve Jobs” starring Michael Fassbender, have failed to make much of a dent at the box office. In 2013, the Ashton Kutcher starrer “Jobs” finished with about $35 million in the U.S. and Canada. “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine” had a limited theatrical release last fall after playing at a few festivals earlier in the year.

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