Beyonce's 'Life Is But a Dream' ratings hit decade high for HBO docs

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beyonce-knowles-concert-life-is-but-a-dream-hbo.jpgCritics were not kind, but Beyonce's directorial debut "Life Is But a Dream" scored the highest ratings in a decade for a HBO documentary.

The film -- co-directed, co-written, starring, executive produced and sometimes even shot (on a web cam) by Beyonce Knowles -- drew 1.8 million viewers for its 9 p.m. premiere on Saturday (Feb. 16). That just beats out the previous champ, Spike Lee's Hurricane Katrina chronicle "When the Levees Broke" which drew 1.7 million viewers in 2006.

In these days of monster ratings for nontraditional shows like "The Walking Dead" and "Downton Abbey," 1.8 million may not sound like a lot -- but for a HBO documentary it's a big deal. It's also a considerably larger number than the network averages for a first run episode of media zeitgeist show "Girls." And pretty much anything that airs on HBO expands its audience substantially through repeats and video on demand viewing.

Beyonce mania also gave a boost to Oprah Winfrey's OWN. The talk show queen's "Oprah's Next Chapter" interview with Ms. Knowles aired at 8 p.m. Saturday and drew 1.3 million viewers.
Photo/Video credit: HBO