Oscar-winning actor Brad Pitt, 56, helped HGTV break its previous ratings records with his appearance on the network’s new show, “Celebrity IOU,” a series where famous faces express their gratitude to the important people in their lives with a home renovation.
The hour-long, feel-good show aired on Monday evening and brought in 2.64 million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. These numbers notched second place on the network’s list of highest viewed shows and broke a six-month slump after “A Very Brady Renovation,” which premiered in September 2019 and received 3.36 million viewers.
It reportedly also had the biggest audience on cable Monday night outside of news programming.
The show delivered a Nielsen rating of 0.6 among HGTV's key demographic of adults between the ages of 25 and 54 and a rating of 0.4 among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, according to THR. Additionally, HGTV’s 25-to-54 demographic was up 60 percent on average for the last six weeks and was 88 percent ahead of the numbers the network saw a year ago.
Overall, HGTV’s viewership has doubled among men between the ages of 25 and 54 on average compared to its numbers from the previous year.
“Celebrity IOU” is hosted by the stars of “Property Brothers,” Drew and Jonathan Scott, who will be joined by other A-list celebrity guests in future episodes such as Melissa McCarthy, Viola Davis, Michael Bublé and Rebel Wilson.
In Pitt’s episode, the actor helped the brothers transform a standard garage into a luxe guest house for his longtime makeup artist, Jean Black.
“We have been anticipating the series premiere of Celebrity IOU for months — and it was a magical moment for HGTV,” said network president Jane Latman in a statement. "The premiere episode was inspiring, moving and fun, and the numbers tell another amazing story. Our fans love the show as much as we do, and we can’t wait to bring them five more riveting stories where celebrities surprise loved ones with life-changing renovations.”
It is not immediately clear whether the viewership boost HGTV has experienced is solely due to Pitt’s appearance, the general celebrity element to the new show, the nationwide coronavirus quarantines that are making people watch more television programming or a mixture of all of the above.