Ratings Descend for Last Half of HBO's Angels in America

News   Ratings Descend for Last Half of HBO's Angels in America The second part of HBO's Angels in America, which aired Dec. 14 on the cable network, drew 2.93 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The numbers were down 30 percent from the Dec. 7 debut airing of the first part — which pulled in a solid cable audience of 4.2 million.

The evening's top-watched broadcast program — the two-hour finale of CBS' "Survivor: Pearl Island" — pulled in 25.6 million viewers. HBO was previously reported to be pleased with the first week's ratings as its plan is to continue airing the Mike Nichols-directed film in various segments on its various networks.

Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson star in the small screen version. A male quartet of stage performers — Patrick Wilson (Oklahoma!), Ben Shenkman (Proof), Justin Kirk (Love! Valour! Compassion!) and original Broadway cast member Jeffrey Wright (Topdog/ Underdog) — are joined in the cast by Mary-Louise Parker (Proof).

James Cromwell, Michael Gambon and Simon Callow are also featured in the film. Streep, Thompson, Wright and Kirk perform multiple roles.

The drama interweaves the stories of a gay couple split apart by AIDS; a Mormon couple separated by their secret fantasies; and a legendary lawyer fading into history. It is set against the backdrop of New York City in 1985 — a time made apparent by a scene which reveals the pre-9/11 Manhattan skyline. The "gay fantasia" includes mystical sequences — executed more simply on film than on stage — filled with ghosts of ancestors and accused spy Ethel Rosenberg, a trip through a refrigerator to Antarctica and, of course, a visit from an angel. Further airings (on various HBO networks), interviews with the cast and production photos are available by visiting www.hbo.com/films/angelsinamerica.

The Angel ascends in HBO's <i>Angels in America</i>
The Angel ascends in HBO's Angels in America Photo by Stephen Goldblatt/HBO
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