“Killing Lincoln” sets ratings record for Nat Geo Channel

The network's first commissioned factual drama averaged 3.4 million viewers over its two-hour premiere, which adds up to the highest total viewership in network history.
February 19, 2013

Killing Lincoln, National Geographic Channel’s first original factual drama, has set a ratings record following its premiere over President’s Day weekend in the U.S.

The telecast averaged 3.4 million persons 2+ over the entire two-hour premiere, the highest total viewership in the network’s history.

Killing Lincoln, produced by Scott Free Productions, also averaged a 2.6 HH rating¬†– tied for the second highest household numbers in NGC history¬†– and a 1.1 P25–54. The P25-54 rating is the highest in the demo since NGC’s airing of SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden in November.

The special, based on Bill O’Reilly’s best-selling book, was narrated on camera by Tom Hanks and starred Billy Campbell as Lincoln and Jesse Johnson as John Wilkes Booth.

Killing Lincoln was our latest effort to expand the original programming we present on the National Geographic Channel, while still maintaining the brand values viewers expect from us,” said Howard T. Owens, president of National Geographic Channels. “The success we saw last night [Sunday] proved that authentic and entertaining are not mutually exclusive, and I think we’ve tapped into a new genre of factual drama that clearly resonates with our audience. Our record ratings would not have been possible without our partnership with Bill O’Reilly, Scott Free Productions and the incredible team that worked on this production.”

“Howard walked into the office on his first day with this book in his hand, and 16 months later to have this success is a true testament to his vision and drive to make this work for our network,” added National Geographic Channels CEO David Lyle, while Scott Free co-founder and Killing Lincoln exec producer Ridley Scott said: “David, Howard and the entire team at National Geographic Channel believed in this project since day one, and were incredibly passionate to make this film work on all levels. We could not be more pleased that viewers responded in this way, and look forward to raising the bar even higher with our next collaboration, Killing Kennedy.”


About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.