Press release - Ratings

April 30, 2021

‘Cruel Summer’ Is Freeform’s Most-Watched Series Debut Ever

April 30, 2021




New Drama Marks Network’s Best Ever Series Debut Among Young Adults



“Cruel Summer” scores Freeform’s most-watched series debut ever, averaging 3.81 million multiplatform viewers in the first week available. The Jessica Biel produced drama is likewise the network’s best-ever series debut among Adults 18-49 (2.65 million) and Adults 18-34 (1.33 million). Additionally, the series from studio Entertainment One (eOne) is the No. 1 most social scripted series premiere across cable year-to-date. The New York Times called “Cruel Summer” “..terrific..” and “..tantalizing.“ While Entertainment Weekly declared it “..your new pop culture obsession.”


“Cruel Summer” premiered with a two-hour event on Tuesday, April 20, at 9:00 p.m. EDT/PDT. From executive producer Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”), “Cruel Summer” is a psychological thriller that follows two young women: Kate Wallis, the popular girl with a charmed life who one day goes missing, and Jeanette Turner, the nerdy wannabe who is accused of being connected to Kate’s disappearance. All signs point to Jeanette’s guilt, but is Kate really who she seems to be? Set over three summers and told through shifting points of view, the series challenges perception and follows how one girl can go from being a sweet outlier to the most despised person in America.


The series stars Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Michael Landes, Froy Gutierrez, Harley Quinn Smith, Allius Barnes, Blake Lee and Brooklyn Sudano. “Cruel Summer” comes from studio eOne and was created by Bert V. Royal. Tia Napolitano serves as showrunner. Executive producers include Napolitano, Royal and Iron Ocean Productions’ Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple.


About Freeform

Freeform connects to audiences with bold original programming and immersive social engagement that moves the cultural conversation a little forward. Freeform channels the force and momentum of its young adult audience in its quest for progress with authentic, groundbreaking original series such as “grown-ish,” “The Bold Type,” “Good Trouble,” “Motherland: Fort Salem,” “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” and “Cruel Summer.” The network also programs tentpole events such as “31 Nights of Halloween,” “Kick Off to Christmas” and “25 Days of Christmas.”


Source: Total viewership based on internal multiplatform metrics (average minute audience across linear TV and digital platforms), through 4/27/21. Social media based on TalkWalker Social Content Ratings for 1/1/21-4/20/21, season 1, episode 1. Freeform launched in January 2016.


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Freeform Media Relations

Irina Bobker


Amanda Kell


Chris Cottle


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