By Michael O'Connell
The Knick is off and running on Cinemax. The Steven Soderbergh-directed drama, already renewed for a second season, launched on the HBO sister net on Friday night.
All told, the series premiere has thus far taken in 1.7 million viewers in its first few days. That includes the live-plus-same day showing for its inaugural telecast (354,000 viewers), three encores over the course of the night (303,000 viewers) and an even bigger sampling on HBO on Saturday. A 10 p.m. airing, meant to drive attention to the Cinemax series, earned 533,000 viewers on HBO.
Though Strike Back and Banshee precede it, The Knick is Cinemax's boldest play in the originals arena since the network launched in 1980. The slick period piece, which Soderbergh directed each of the first ten episodes, stars Clive Owen as a Victorian-era surgeon in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. It was originally pitched as a HBO project, but Soderbergh quickly agreed to the smaller playing ground of Cinemax when execs explained their plan to beef up its prestige offerings.
"I think we all feel excited about being part of something hopefully transformative for this network," exec producer Michael Sugar told The Hollywood Reporter. "What's appealing is that we're working with the same executives, marketing and financial resources. People think that Steven's just a rebel, but he's not. He doesn't do things to be contrarian. It's the pioneer in him that persuaded him to lead us to Cinemax."
HBO has not shied away from promoting its neighboring series, aggressively plugging The Knick between episodes of its own original offerings such as True Blood and The Leftovers.
The first episode of The Knick is now available on YouTube for non-Cinemax subscribers. So if you want to watch an alarmingly realistic recreation of a circa-1900 c-section during your lunch hour, stream away.
Who's watched it so far? Imo, I'm tired of the whole tortured, totally unlikable white male antihero being the center of the universe, but I have read that Algernon Edwards becomes a co-lead character in later episodes. I'm def looking forward to that.