'Mammoth' Was Big, Just Not As Big

By Linda Moss , |

The premiere of Discovery Channel's Land of the Mammoth
posted a 3.9 rating, only half the number of last year's behemoth blockbuster Raising the Mammoth.
Land of the Mammoth
delivered 5.1 million viewers during its debut run March 11, and was Discovery's seventh-highest rated show ever, according to Nielsen Media Research data supplied last week by Discovery. Although a it was strong showing in general, it didn't keep pace with its predecessor from last year, Raising the Mammoth.

Last year's Emmy-winning Raising the Mammoth
premiere made cable history when its initial airing tallied a 7.8 rating, which translated to 10.1 million viewers. The special's performance was second only to Discovery's Walking With Dinosaurs,
which garnered an 8.0 rating and 10.7 million viewers, as the most-watched documentary ever on cable.

"Last year was the anomaly," said Discovery Networks U.S. senior vice president of research Steve McGowan. "Both shows were excellent programs, so I don't think that is an issue."

He added that a check of quarter-hour numbers for the Land of the Mammoths
premiere showed that viewership didn't fall off as the show went on, which would have indicated that the audience abandoned the program after tuning in.

Land of the Mammoth
was the top-rated show on basic cable Sunday night. The special aired three times that night, and 18.3 million people saw some part of those telecasts, according to Discovery.

Land of the Mammoth
is the continuation of Raising the Mammoth,
the story of the excavation and airlift of a permafrost block that contained the remains of a woolly mammoth that died more than 20,000 years ago. Land of the Mammoth
chronicled two expeditions to northern Siberia's remote Taimyr Peninsula, which were undertaken to collect animals remains from the Pleistocene era.

Land of the Mammoth
faced some stiff competition the Sunday night it aired, including the second week of the new season of The Sopranos
on Home Box Office. Disney Channel's original movie Luck of the Irish
also performed well during its 9 p.m. run that same Sunday, which was a repeat for the telepic.

During its premiere March 9, Luck of the Irish
drew a 4.0 rating and delivered 5.2 million people, making it Disney Channel's highest-rated original movie over the past three years.

Boosted by the viewership generated by the various plays of Luck of the Irish,
Disney Channel ranked No. 1 in primetime for basic cable, tying with Lifetime Television and TBS Superstation, with a 1.9 rating for the week of March 5 to 11.

On March 4, Travel Channel broke a record, posting its highest primetime household rating ever with the debut of its Beach Week
programming.

Join the Conversation