How Many People Watched Tom Hardy's FX Show Taboo

taboo tom hardy

Tom Hardy is as versatile an actor as you can find these days, and his latest effort is FX's dark and twisted drama Taboo, his first big U.S. TV effort since HBO's Band of Brothers. It's also one of his weirdest projects yet, but it's apparently not weird enough to turn away audiences, as Taboo's series premiere not only ranked highly among all cable premieres in the 2016-2017 season, with over 3.4 million viewers, but it's also earned the biggest delayed viewing boost of any series premiere in FX history.

Making its U.S. debut on Tuesday, January 10, Taboo hit FX in a way that was nice but not stunning, and its Live+Same Day numbers showed it earning a modest rating in the key demographic rating of adults 18-49, with a total audience of 1.84 million people. But with percentages that take many other shows a full week to bring in, Taboo was something of a stunner in the Live+3 stats, as the total viewership jumped up to 3.43 million for an 86% increase. That was enough to make it the biggest time-shifted premiere to date for FX in the all-around audience.

Perhaps more important for all involved is the fact that Taboo's rating in the key demo saw an even bigger Live+3 boost, percentage-wise. With just over 1.6 million people slotted into the demo's age range, Taboo got a 101% increase for that measurement, which also serves as a record for demo ratings for time-shifted premieres. Not too bad at all for a show that hints at some wink-wink things happening between Tom Hardy's haunted journeyman James Delaney and his half-sister Zilpha Geary (Oona Chaplin). Compared to other FX shows, I guess that isn't that weird.

In this still new era of revamped TV ratings, the shift away from Live TV numbers has been slow but is definitely gaining ground, especially on cable, which relies way more on after-the-fact viewing than broadcast networks. Demo ratings are also sometimes more important for cable dramas, where advertisers have to be more picky about what series they get attached to. I rather liked the early episodes I screened, so I certainly hope Taboo keeps these impressive ratings going, and it very well could on Tuesday evenings that don't coincide with the farewell address of President Obama, which is every other Tuesday minus the one it premiered on.

Co-created by Tom Hardy, Steven Knight and Edward Hardy, Taboo airs Tuesday nights on FX, and its tale of a returning son aiming to claim his legacy, only gets darker and stranger from here. To see everything else that's coming to your TVs in the near future, head to our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.