Viewer interest in Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation remains high, with Sunday’s premiere of “I Am Cait” on E! drawing the network’s largest audience for a premiere in four years — though it wasn’t as big as a “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” special on Jenner in May.
According to Nielsen “live plus same-day” national estimates, “I Am Cait” averaged a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.73 million viewers overall for its 8 p.m. debut — more than four times the network’s “live plus same-day” primetime average during the second quarter of this year (0.27 rating in 18-49, 598,000 viewers overall).
This was the third largest audience of 2015 for E!, behind its “Live From the Red Carpet” coverage from the Oscars in February (3.3 million) and the first of a two-part special “All About Bruce” episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” episode on May 17 (2.92 million viewers).
The last E! series to open to a larger overall audience than Sunday’s “I Am Cait” was “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” which drew 3.01 in January 2011. And in 18-49, it’s the network’s top premiere score since “Khloe & Lamar” in April 2011 (1.4 rating).
REVIEW: I Am Cait
The first indication of interest in Jenner’s transformation came in April when a whopping 17 million viewers tuned on a Friday night to watch Diane Sawyer’s two-hour “20/20” special on ABC. And a couple of weeks ago, a record audience of nearly 8 million watched the ESPY Awards on ABC, which feted Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
On E!, the two-part special “All About Bruce” episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” premiered May 17 to a 1.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.92 million viewers overall — a 40% spike in the demo (from 1.0) and nearly 50% higher in total viewers (from 2 million) than the prior three-week average for “Kardashians.” Viewership held strong for the concluding segment on May 18, which did a 1.3 rating in 18-49 and 2.55 million viewers overall.