Evidently, people were interested in figuring out Bernie Madoff and family. The HBO Films presentation THE WIZARD OF LIES debuted on Saturday, May 20th at 8:00pm and did well in the numbers.


1.5 million (that is a small number concerning Bernie deals in billions) viewers for its debut date. But totaling up multiple airings and the streaming sites (HBONow/Go) the first weekend had 2.4 million viewers tuning in. That is good numbers for the premium network. To put it in comparison THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne, which premiered on 04.22 had a debut viewership of 1.1 million. That puts THE WIZARD OF LIES third behind 2013’s Liberace story BEHIND THE CANDELABRA and 2010’s McCain/Palin ticket pic GAME CHANGE.

It is not too late, if you haven’t already seen Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer as Bernard and Ruth Madoff in this latest from HBO Films. It at least plays through June on the cable channels and indefinitely on the streaming sites. An HBO press release details it for us:

Robert De Niro (Oscar winner for Raging Bull and The Godfather II) comes to HBO for the first time in the role of family patriarch Bernie Madoff. Also on HBO for the first time, Michelle Pfeiffer (Golden Globe winner for The Fabulous Baker Boys) stars as Ruth Madoff, Bernie’s longtime spouse and unwitting partner during the events that would lead to financial ruin for countless people and institutions, as well as his and his family’s destruction.


THE WIZARD OF LIES is directed by Barry Levinson from a script by Sam Levinson and John Burnham Schwartz and Samuel Baum, based on Diana B. Henriques’ 2011 New York Times bestselling book “The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust,” which featured unprecedented access and more than 100 interviews, including Madoff’s first interviews for publication since his arrest. “Truth and Consequences,” by Laurie Sandell, is additional source material.


The film also stars Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle) as Mark Madoff, Bernie and Ruth’s oldest son, and Nathan Darrow (House of Cards) as Andrew Madoff, their youngest son, both of whom worked with their father at his investment firm. Other cast members include: Kristen Connolly (The Cabin in the Woods) as Stephanie Madoff, Mark’s wife; Lily Rabe (Pawn Sacrifice) as Catherine Hooper, Andrew’s fiancée; and Hank Azaria (Brockmire) as Frank DiPascali, Bernie’s right-hand man in the Ponzi scheme. Diana B. Henriques, the first writer to visit Madoff in prison, plays herself.


Barry Levinson received a Best Director Oscar Rain Man and also executive produced and directed HBO Films’ YOU DON’T KNOW JACK and executive produced HBO Films’ PHIL SPECTOR, each of which earned him Emmy nominations.

It goes to show you that you that HBO’s TV-movies are always intriguing and acclaimed. Don’t miss one when they come along.


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