Showtime CEO David Nevins says that Twin Peaks: The Revival has been a success, despite its constant ratings drop. When one thinks of the phrase “cult show,” one title always likely to come to mind is Twin Peaks, co-created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Premiering on ABC in the spring of 1990, Twin Peaks introduced viewers to the titular mountain town, a place where odd people and strange events were just a fact of life. Season 1’s central plot of FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) investigating the murder of Laura Palmer captivated audiences, turning the show into an instant pop culture phenomenon.
Twin Peaks would return to ABC for season 2, but was received in a much more mixed fashion. One problem was the network’s mandate that the Palmer murder be solved – once that happened, a lot of the show’s mystique seemed to evaporate, leading to cancellation. Still, Twin Peaks would retain its fiercely loyal fanbase for decades to come, leading to Showtime ordering a revival season back in 2014. The development process was a long one, but fans finally got to head back to Twin Peaks this year.
With Twin Peaks’ 18-episode season 3 set to end tomorrow night, THR spoke to Showtime boss Nevins about whether or not he considered the revival a success. Despite drawing ratings much lower than other Showtime originals like Ray Donovan and Homeland, Nevins still considers reviving Twin Peaks to have been a worthwhile investment for the network.
For perspective, Twin Peaks has averaged about 2 million viewers per week, with about 300,000 of those viewers watching the initial broadcast. Ray Donovan – which has shared Sundays with Twin Peaks since August 6 – draws closer to 4 million viewers per episode, with about 1 million of those watching live.
That’s certainly a wide gulf, but as Nevins points out, there is a more important factor than ratings in play with Twin Peaks. The revival’s May premiere week produced the largest number of signups to Showtime’s streaming service since its 2015 launch, and most of those new customers have remained active over the entire 18-episode run. While some of those subscribers will probably leave right after the show ends, even retaining a majority of them as ongoing customers would be a financial win for Showtime.
Twin Peaks’ season 3 finale airs Sunday, September 3 on Showtime. There are currently no plans for a season 4.
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