Nicole Kidman, Zoe Saldaña spy series ‘Special Ops: Lioness’ scores record debut for Paramount+

Paramount+/Greg Lewis

Special Ops: Lioness, the military spy thriller from Yellowstone hitmaker Taylor Sheridan, debuted with a bang.

The series starring executive producers Zoe Saldaña and Nicole Kidman delivered nearly 6 million total viewers across Paramount+ globally when it launched with two episodes on July 23.

Lioness also became the biggest 24-hour series debut in the history of the streaming service, besting the previous record set by Halo in March 2022.

The first episode also ran on Paramount Network on the same day, adding to the viewership total. The second installment aired on Sunday, July 30, on the sister linear channel.

The total numbers on streaming and linear made Lioness cable’s #1 new scripted premiere of 2023, beating out hits like The Last of Us and The Lazarus Project, the streaming service touts.

Based on a real-life CIA program, the show follows Laysla De Oliveira‘s Cruz Manuelos, a rough-around-the-edges but passionate young Marine recruited by Saldaña’s steely Joe to join the CIA’s Lioness Engagement Team and help bring down an international terrorist by going undercover.

Oscar winner Morgan Freeman also stars in the show; new episodes drop Sundays on Paramount+.

In response, David C. Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios, one of the show’s producers, noted, “We are thrilled audiences have discovered the power of Zoe Saldaña, Nicole Kidman & LayslaDe Oliveira. These three incredible actors delivered and make Lioness an action packed, dramatic, joy-ride week after week.”

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