×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘My Brilliant Friend’ Scores Brilliant Ratings at Home

With its international rollout well underway, the critically acclaimed TV series “My Brilliant Friend,” based on the first of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s bestselling “Neapolitan Novels,” is scoring strong ratings at home in Italy, and is also playing well in the U.S. and U.K.

The show, which explores the bounds of female friendship, is being hailed as a milestone in Italian television following its primetime premiere Nov. 27 on pubcaster RAI, which earned about a 29% share, pulling in more than 7 million viewers and becoming the highest-rated drama of the country’s current season.

Those ratings have remained relatively stable. On Tuesday, the series finale – RAI’s third consecutive broadcast of back-to-back episodes – scored a 28.7% share on RAI-1. On the previous Tuesday, ratings soared past a record-breaking 30% share.

Eleonora Andreatta, chief of fiction for RAI, has called the show a winning gamble and noted in a statement that its audience share was even higher among young Italian women aged 15-24. Fabrizio Salini, RAI’s CEO, hailed the numbers as “an important milestone” in Italian public service television.

My Brilliant Friend” is largely in Neapolitan dialect and was directed by Italy’s Saverio Costanzo, who collaborated with Ferrante on the TV version. A second season has already been greenlit.

In the U.K., where it plays on the Sky pay-TV service, the series has become the best-performing foreign-language drama launch since “Babylon Berlin,” which launched in November 2017.

British viewers for “My Brilliant Friend” have been steadily growing since it bowed Nov. 19, currently attracting an average audience of nearly half a million after the first episode drew 288,000 viewers, according to Sky figures.

In the U.S., where it has received rave reviews, the show has been averaging a little over 1 million viewers on HBO after bowing on Nov. 18. “Considering the foreign language, that is a good number so far,” an HBO rep told Variety in an email, adding that the company “anticipate[s] it will continue to grow.” 

Last week, before the finale was broadcast on HBO, HBO and RAI announced that they were renewing the show for a second season. The sophomore run will be based on “The Story of a New Name,” the second book in Elena Ferrante’s quadrilogy.

“My Brilliant Friend” currently has a 94% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 97% audience score. It’s been selected among Time magazine’s 10 best television shows of the year.

The show, which launched on HBO in most of continental Europe day-and-date with the U.S., bows in France on Thursday on pay-TV service Canal Plus.

“My Brilliant Friend” is a RAI Fiction-HBO and TIMVISION series and a Wildside-Fandango Production. It is produced by Lorenzo Mieli and Mario Gianani for Wildside and by Domenico Procacci for Fandango, in collaboration with RAI Fiction, TIMVISION and HBO Entertainment, and in co-production with Umedia.

Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino and Jennifer Schuur are the executive producers. Fremantle is the international distributor in association with RAI Com.

More TV

  • Monzon

    Conecta Fiction: Disney’s Leonardo Aranguibel Talks ‘Monzón’

    PAMPLONA, Spain  —  Disney’s Leonardo Aranguibel, producer of “Until I Met You” and “Selena’s Secret,” may have another winner on its hands. Produced by the Buena Vista Production Group, “Monzón,” a chronicle of the Argentine’s boxing legend’s arrest and trial, accused of murdering wife Alicia Muniz, opened on Turner Latin America’s Space on Monday June [...]

  • Sebastian Cordero, Arturo Yepez Set ‘Floresta’

    Sebastian Cordero, Arturo Yepez Set ‘Floresta’ as Touché Films Targets Premium TV (EXCLUSIVE)

    PAMPLONA, Spain  —  Ecuador’s Sebastián Cordero, director of the Guillermo del Toro-produced “Rage” and acclaimed low budget sci-fi thriller “Europa Report,” is teaming with his longtime producer Arturo Yépez to make “Floresta,” a 10 half-hour dramedy which marks Cordero’s move into TV series. Told in the tone of tragicomedy, and inspired loosely by the back [...]

  • 76th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS --

    Viacom Partners With Tyler Perry for BET Plus Streaming Service

    Viacom’s BET Networks has teamed with Tyler Perry to create a subscription streaming service that combines the prolific auteur’s library of movies and TV shows with BET’s programming vault. The service dubbed BET Plus will bow in the fall with a handful of original series and productions and a deep library offering that will be [...]

  • keeley-hawes-starring-netflix-film-rebecca

    Keeley Hawes to Star in and Produce Honor-Killing Drama for ITV

    Keeley Hawes will star as a detective attempting to bring a group of killers to justice in the wake of a so-called honor-killing in “Honour.” The two-part drama is based on the real-life case of Banaz Mahmod, a young Londoner murdered by her own family for falling in love with the wrong man. It is [...]

  • Love Nature Teams with Arte, BBC,

    Love Nature Teams with Arte, BBC, Smithsonian on Natural History Series ‘Stormborn’

    Love Nature has greenlit “Stormborn,” a wildlife series about animals living in the wildlands of countries on the edge of the North Atlantic. The three-parter will bow on Love Nature’s 4K linear channel and streaming service and then play on Arte in France and Germany, BBC Scotland and Smithsonian Channel. Love Nature is the natural [...]

  • john-farrar-joins-barcroft

    Barcroft Studios Hires John Farrar as Creative Director, Ups Two Execs (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Farrar, whose credits include “The Imposter,” has joined U.K. producer and digital content specialist Barcroft Studios. The company has also upped two senior staffers, with Alex Morris elevated to chief creative officer and Caspar Norman to chief operating officer. The new recruit joins Barcroft from Nerd TV, the U.K. shingle he co-founded with Jago [...]

  • Mary J. Blige and Rihanna

    Rihanna Presents Mary J. Blige With BET Lifetime Achievement Award

    Rihanna took the Microsoft Theater stage on June 23 to present Mary J. Blige with the BET Lifetime Achievement Award. Hailing the legendary singer for her style and sound, Rihanna also made mention of Blige’s history-making two Oscar nominations in the same year, for best actress and original song for “Mudbound.” Accepting the trophy, Blige [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content