NBC has handed out an early renewal to their David Duchovny fronted 60s period drama Aquarius. The network has ordered a further 13 episodes for the show’s second season, which is expected to enter production toward the end of the year for a Summer 2016 premiere.
Created by John McNamara, Aquarius is set in the late 1960s and follows LAPD Sergeant Sam Hodiak (Duchovny), a man with a complicated personal life who starts tracking a small-time criminal and budding cult leader seeking out vulnerable women to join his “cause.” The name of that man is Charles Manson. The twists and turns of a complicated undercover operation will lead Hodiak and his young partner to the brink of Manson’s crimes that will eventually lead to the Tate-LaBianca murders. ITV Studios America is producing. Grey Damon, Gethin Anthony, Emma Dumont, Claire Holt, Michaela McManus and Brian F. O’Byrne also star.
Aquarius employed something of an untested distribution method for a show on a traditional broadcast network, with all 13 episodes of the show’s first season being made available to stream on-line after the series premiere aired on NBC. New episodes then continued to air on the net in a traditionally scheduled slot. Given that, the strong online viewing figures (Aquarius is the #2 most-viewed drama premiere ever on NBC.com and the NBC App) were a key factor in the renewal. On the network itself, the show has been averaging close to 6 million viewers and a 1.2 A18-49 rating.
“With its riveting drama and innovative release strategy, ‘Aquarius’ has excited the critics, hooked millions of viewers and energized our summer”, said Jennifer Salke, President of NBC Entertainment. “It’s no secret that the way people watch television is evolving, so we took a unique approach to how we delivered ‘Aquarius’ and it’s driven some record numbers for NBC Digital and helped us reach viewers who might have otherwise overlooked a great summer drama.”
“Beyond generating some truly impressive view totals, the network’s unique release strategy with ‘Aquarius’ has helped us gain new insights into viewership patterns, binging behavior and social engagement, significantly expanding our knowledge of how people are watching our shows online”, added Robert Hayes, Executive Vice President of NBC Entertainment Digital.