Airing at 10 p.m., the first episode drew 533,000 viewers. That puts it just under the premiere of the new half-hour Showtime comedy “SMILF” in November, which drew 768,000 viewers. It also puts it well above the premiere of Showtime’s other recent freshman shows “I’m Dying Up Here” (167,000) and “White Famous (154,000), the latter of which was recently cancelled.
With subsequent airings Sunday night, “The Chi” drew a total of 875,000 viewers. The show was also offered for advance sampling, adding an additional 800,000 viewers for a grand total of 1.67 million viewers total having seen the premiere. That is the best Showtime series debut when all factors are counted since “Billions,” which drew 3 million viewers in total.
Created and executive produced by Lena Waithe and executive produced by Common, “The Chi” explores the lives of residents on the South Side of Chicago. Shot entirely in its namesake city, the series stars Jason Mitchell, Jacob Latimore, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Hibbert, Yolanda Ross, Tiffany Boone, and Armando Riesco.
In addition to Waithe and Common, the series is executive produced by Elwood Reid, Aaron Kaplan and Rick Famuyiwa, who also directed the premiere episode, with Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone of Freedom Road also executive producing. Reid serves as showrunner. The series is produced by Fox 21.