TV ratings aren’t what they used to be. In the streaming age, it can be difficult to determine what separates a crowd pleaser from a critical darling, or a cult hit from a legitimate ratings hit. At least, on the whole. Sometimes a show performs so well that it’s an undeniable hit, and the latest show to achieve this rare feat is The Diplomat.
The Diplomat, which is a political thriller series produced by Netflix, managed to top the streaming chart in its first week of eligibility. According to the Hollywood Reporter, it drew 1.3 billion minutes of viewing in the United States during the week of April 17-23. This places The Diplomat ahead of reliable streaming titans like the reality show Love Is Blind, which netted 1.22 billion minutes, and the acclaimed drama Better Call Saul, which came in third with 927 million minutes.
While the streaming numbers for The Diplomat are impressive on the surface, a closer look reveals even more impressive stats. The show premiered on April 20, which means it topped the streaming chart despite not even being on the air during the first three days of the recorded period.
Needless to say, The Diplomat is a massive hit with viewers. The show has been praised for ambition, its consistently tense mood, and the central performances by Keri Russell and Rufus Sewell. Neither Russell or Sewell are household names in the Hollywood sense, but both have anchored popular TV shows in the past.
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Russell was the star of Felicity (1998-2002) and The Americans (2013-18), while Sewell earned critical praise (and a Critics’ Choice Award nomination) for his turn in The Man in the High Castle (2014-19).
At a time when both networks and streaming platforms are struggling to land the next hit show, The Diplomat is a clear win, and one that Netflix needs to capitalize on as soon as possible. Thankfully, the platform is doing just that. Netflix renewed the show for a second season on May 1. A statement was issued to Deadline affirming how excited the creatives are in continuing the story.
“Fans around the world are loving every minute of The Diplomat’s gripping and propulsive drama, and embracing Keri Russell’s powerful performance as Kate Wyler,” said Jinny Howe, Vice President of Drama Series at Netflix. “After that jaw-dropping cliffhanger, we can’t wait for them to see what the amazing visionary team of Debora Cahn, Janice Williams and Keri Russell have in store for Season 2.”
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Fans of The Diplomat shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out what happens to the characters following the end of season 1. The show was originally announced in Jan. 2022, and Netflix released it fifteen months later, so by that time table, season 2 should be releasing sometime next summer.
The jury is still out on the plot of season 2, but Sewell did shed light on some of the themes and suggested that the show will explore the natural consequences of what has already happened. “All I know is that if you resolve it one way or another too quickly, we’re screwed,” the actor told Netflix’s Tudum. “I like to think there are enough problems to last us [a few seasons].”
We can’t wait to find out whether Sewell’s prediction comes true.