Big spike in viewership for the chilling finale of HBO's 'The Jinx'

robert durst
Robert Durst poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested and detained March 14, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Interest in the Robert Durst case and his Saturday night arrest in New Orleans clearly resulted in a bigger audience for Sunday's night's finale of "The Jinx," HBO's six-part documentary series about the eccentric real estate heir.

Nearly one million people tuned in to watch Durst possibly confess to murder during the chilling final scene of the series.

According to estimates from Nielsen, Sunday's finale averaged 802,000 viewers for the original 8 p.m. airing -- a massive spike from the previous week's episode, which averaged 446,000 viewers.

These viewership figures only include "live" viewership at 8 p.m. and "same day" viewership, which means digital video recorder playback later on Sunday evening. It also gained more viewers during an 11:30 p.m. repeat airing.

HBO programs accumulate most of their audience hours, days and even weeks after original airings, through digital video recorder playback and other time-shifting methods, so "The Jinx" finale will eventually be seen by several million people.

HBO, like this web site, is owned by Time Warner.

A spokesperson for HBO said that, prior to the finale, "The Jinx" was "averaging 3.2 million viewers" based on preliminary data and that the number "will continue to grow."

That said, the Nielsen estimates suggest that Saturday night's arrest -- which was first reported on Sunday morning, 9 hours before the finale -- generated "live" and "same day" attention for the finale.

In the waning moments of Sunday's episode, Durst, a scion of one of New York's most powerful real estate dynasties who has been both a person of interest and suspect in multiple murder cases, appeared to own up to the crimes.

"What the hell did I do?" Durst said, his words captured unwittingly by the hot microphone. "Killed them all, of course."

The moment reverberated immediately, becoming a top story on television and online. On Tuesday, Durst and "The Jinx" continued to be trending topics on Twitter.

Durst was arrested Saturday in connection with the 2000 death of his close friend, Susan Berman. He's denied any involvement in that murder, just as he has denied a role in the 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen Durst.


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