Outlander was on hiatus for more than a year, and fans had to wait and wonder just what was going to happen next for Jamie and Claire following the killer Season 2 cliffhanger that saw them separated by 200 years of history. The show finally returned for its Season 3 premiere on September 10 with an epic episode that changed the status quo of the series forever. Now, the numbers are in to let us know just how many people tuned in for the premiere, and it turns out that Outlander is already breaking its own records in Season 3.
The Season 3 premiere was watched by 2.09 million viewers in Live+Same day calculations, which is the highest number of viewers ever scored by an episode of Outlander to date. Of that 2.09 million, 1.49 million tuned in for the 8 p.m. airing. The remaining viewers tuned in for one of the later Starz airings on Sunday night. The episode with 1.49 million in its time slot marks the third highest in Starz premiere history, coming in behind only the premieres of Power Season 3 and Power Season 4.
The total 2.09 million viewers in Live+Same day beats Outlander’s previous most-watched episode, which was “The Wedding” back in Season 1, which was viewed by 2.04 million viewers. Beating “The Wedding” is actually a pretty big win for the Season 3 premiere, all things considered. “The Wedding” featured Jamie and Claire finally hooking up after six episodes of sparks flying. The episode was a big deal for the plot of the first season and a huge deal for readers of the Outlander book saga. The Season 3 premiere beating “The Wedding” is a sign that there are still plenty of people invested in Jamie and Claire, separately and together.
Interestingly, viewership rose in a few unexpected demographics. Deadline reports that viewership among women 18 and older was up 8% from the Season 2 premiere, and the demo of women 35 and older was up 13%. Adults 50+ was up a respectable 15%. If Outlander can sustain these kinds of numbers moving forward, Season 3 could be its biggest to date.
That said, we shouldn’t expect Outlander to break its own records on a weekly basis. Premieres and finales tend to score higher ratings and viewership than middle episodes, and the second episode of Season 3 will air up against the Emmys on September 17. Still, it’s not unprecedented for a series to continue growing in viewers throughout a season. Game of Thrones was beating its own records over and over again in Season 7, and The Walking Dead grew at an incredible rate for a while.
We’ll have to wait and see. New episodes of Outlander air on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz. Given the big death and major plot twist of the Season 3 premiere, it’ll definitely be worth tuning in. For your other viewing options, take a gander at our fall TV premiere schedule.