Nat Geo scores with “SEAL Team Six”

The scripted film, exec produced by Harvey Weinstein, aired on Sunday and pulled in enough viewers to become National Geographic Channel's top-rated show of the year. (Pictured: SEAL Team Six's Washington DC premiere)
November 6, 2012

(Pictured: actor Kenneth Miller; National Geographic Channels CEO David Lyle; writer Kendall Lampkin; Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO, Motion Picture Association of America; and director John Stockwell. Credit: National Geographic Channels/ Evelyn Hockstein)

SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden performed well for National Geographic Channel (NGC) on Sunday, pulling in an average of 2.7 million viewers and with 4.7 million total viewers tuning in to at least six minutes of the scripted feature, according to the network.

Those numbers make the film, executive produced by Harvey Weinstein and directed by John Stockwell, the top-rating show on NGC thus far in 2012, and the sixth highest-rated show in the net’s history.

SEAL Team Six averaged a 1.4 rating in P25-54, and a 1.9in M25-54. That makes it the highest-rated telecast in the adults 25-54 demo since the premiere of George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview in August 2011. The P25-54 number is more than four times the average for the Sunday 8-10 p.m. time slot for 2012.

“We are overwhelmed that viewers across the country responded en masse to this socially relevant, factually based and entertaining film that highlighted the real inside story behind the manhunt for bin Laden and the heroes in our military and intelligence agencies,” said David Lyle, CEO National Geographic Channels, via a statement. “It proved that no matter who Americans are planning to vote for, a good film is a good film, and we are happy to have had such success with our first original broadcast of a feature film inspired by real-life events.”

The project generated a bit of controversy when news emerged that the film, slated to air mere days before the U.S. presidential election, had been re-edited to use actual news and documentary footage featuring President Obama. In a joint interview with The New York Times, Weinstein, Stockwell, and National Geographic Channels U.S. president Howard T. Owens said the new edit was designed to provide a heightened sense of realism to the film.

The film will air again on NGC this Friday, and is currently available on Netflix, as of today.

“What National Geographic Channel, CEO David Lyle and president Howard Owens did was offer a captivating film of recent American history to as many homes as possible,” added Weinstein in the statement. “We expect SEAL Team Six to be a perennial for the National Geographic Channel and hope more people watch it this Friday.”

NGC’s next foray into factual drama, Scott Free Production’s Killing Lincoln, is slated to air early in 2013.


About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.