Breakout ‘Defending Jacob’ sets Apple TV+ viewership records

Apple TV+ appears to have had its biggest debut since then with the new limited series “Defending Jacob,” starring Chris Evans. The series also is believed to be setting Apple TV+ records for viewer engagement.

Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell and Chris Evans in “Defending Jacob,” which premiered on April 24th on Apple TV+.
Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell and Chris Evans in “Defending Jacob,” which premiered on April 24th on Apple TV+.

“Defending Jacob” is a gripping, character-driven thriller based on the 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, also stars Cherry Jones, Pablo Schreiber, Betty Gabriel and Sakina Jaffrey. The limited drama series unfolds around a shocking crime that rocks a small Massachusetts town and one family in particular, forcing an assistant district attorney to choose between his sworn duty to uphold justice and his unconditional love for his son.

Nellie Andreeva for Deadline:

Apple TV+ appears to have had its biggest debut since then with the new limited series Defending Jacob, starring Chris Evans. According to sources, “Defending Jacob” ranks among the top three series premieres for Apple TV+, logging a big opening weekend with viewership continuing to build in Week 2 and the audience growing by five times in its first 10 days (April 24-May 3) to rank among the two fastest-growing series premieres for Apple TV+.

The vast majority of viewers who sampled the show during its premiere weekend watched all three available episodes, and nearly all who watched those also completed the fourth episode released May 1, I have learned. Episode 5 becomes available this Friday, unveiling J.K. Simmons’ Billy Barber as the estranged father of Evans’ Andy Barber.

Apple TV+ rolled out November 1 in more than 100 countries and has debuted 26 original programs in its first six months. They have earned 36 award nominations to date… Apple TV+ debuted four original live-action scripted series at launch, led by flagship “The Morning Show,” the service’s most award-recognized show, which also is believed to be its most popular original.

MacDailyNews Take: If you haven’t yet seen it, here’s is the official “Defending Jacob” trailer:

Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial.


  1. We watched a few minutes of it this weekend, we didn’t like it and stopped watching it.

    We did watch all the episodes of “Trying” which was OK. We were hoping for a different outcome, but it was predictable.

    We are two old farts, and we don’t see the value in TV+, we canceled. Maybe if Apple develops a huge amount of content, we’ll try again. Paying for and using Apple TV+ as a hub and paying for other content seems like it would get expensive very quick.

    Maybe others think different. Most of our time watching TV has been live sports especially college football. We are more and more content to watch free stuff on YouTube. We watched an old Cary Grant movie last night. It was way different than today’s movies. Some will never know….

  2. FYI, you can still use the Apple TV app as your streaming video hub even if you don’t subscribe to Apple TV+. It’s a good aggregation tool. We have started using it by default.

    I got a free year of Apple TV+ with my iPhone 11 Pro. We have enjoyed a number of shows, but wouldn’t pay to subscribe – yet. Maybe we will after a year or two when the catalog of good shows reaches critical mass. We’ll see.

    As a person who tends to buy at least one new Apple device per year, I really hope that Apple will continue throwing in Apple TV+ subscriptions with new hardware purchases.

    I’d also love to see an ‘Apple Prime’ type subscription than gives access to iCloud Drive space, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Music, and Apple TV+ via a single discounted monthly or annual fee.

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