Ava DuVernay’s ‘Queen Sugar’ Series Premiere is a Win for OWN

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Queen Sugar promo (OWN)
Queen Sugar promo (OWN)

Queen Sugar,” the new series on Oprah’s OWN network, netted history-making numbers for its two-episode premiere. The show debuted Sept. 6 and 7 and arrived alongside another Black-centered show, “Atlanta” on FX.

“Queen Sugar” follows two estranged siblings –  Nova Bordelon and Charley Bordelon – who move to Louisiana to claim an inherited 800-acre sugarcane farm from their newly departed father. It is based on a 2014 novel by Natalie Baszile.

Shadow and Act reported the show’s two-night premiere was the highest of its kind for the 5-year-old TV channel. An average of 2.14 million viewers tuned in for the sister-centered drama. And in OWN’s focus demographic of women ages 25 to 54, viewership reached 1.9 million.

In Tuesday’s episode titled “Far Too Long,” 2.7 million pairs of eyes caught the show, compared to 2.14 million for the second episode on Wednesday. In the core demo, the first episode averaged 2.07 million and the second scored lower with 1.72 million.

Lead-in “The Haves and Have Nots” aided the high ratings of “Queen Sugar.” The Season 3 finale attracted 3.24 million total viewers and averaged 2.41 million in OWN’s core demo. It was the most-watched episode of the series’ current season.

Because of those numbers, OWN became Tuesday night’s No. 1 cable channel for women.

The historic two-night debut ratings of the Oprah-executive produced “Queen Sugar” follows the fantastic viewer turnout for the mogul’s network in March.

Atlanta Black Star reported OWN became the highest-rated network among African-Americans and women after growing 30 percent in the last two years. The peak in audiences meant broadcasts reached 537,000 homes during that time.

The growth was due in part to bringing in Tyler Perry, who helms several shows on the network. That led to Oprah meeting with DuVernay to create “Queen Sugar,” which DuVernay co-executive produces.

For “Atlanta,” ratings were solid. Nearly 1.1 million watchers caught the premiere while 960,000 tuned in for episode two. In the 18- to 49-year-old demo, 680,000 saw the debut and 618,000 caught the following episode.

“Queen Sugar” regularly airs on OWN Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Donald Glover’s cousin-focused rap-scene series “Atlanta” broadcasts Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

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