Dog's Most Wanted proved to be as big a hit as fans of the show were hoping it would be! Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman's return to television, featuring the start of the last footage of his late wife Beth Chapman's cancer battle gave WGN America its biggest night in the ratings in over two years.
The show follows the beloved reality television couple as they hunt the nation's most sought-after criminals with the help of "The Dirty Dozen," a group of ferocious bounty hunters.
Deadline reports the series premiere drew nearly 1.7 million total viewers across all platforms and 726,000 adults in the 25-54 demographic Wednesday night. The airing also brought in 426,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo and 943,00 total viewers, in Live+ same day.
The episode marks WGN America's highest-rated telecast since the Season 2 premiere of its original series Underground in March 2017. The show also made into the Top 10 trending topics on Twitter Wednesday night with the hashtags, #DogsMostWanted and #ThisOnesForBeth trending.
The series premiere comes over two months since Beth Chapman died at the age of 51 following a long battle with throat and lung cancer. Dog's Most Wanted was originally set to premiere in 2020, but the network fast-tracked the premiere so as to honor Beth's legacy after her passing.
The first episode dove right into Beth's cancer battle, opening with a scene featuring the couple finding out that her cancer was back.
"In 2014 Duane 'the Dog' Bounty Hunter and his wife, Beth Chapman, retired from full-time bounty hunting," the show's narrator said during the scene. "And in 2017, Beth won a year-long battle with cancer after having a tumor removed from her throat. But today, for the entire Chapman family, everything is about to change."
"I got some test results back on your Immunotherapy," the doctor says in the clip. "I hate to say it, but unfortunately, your tumor is not improving based on the immunotherapy. I need to advise you to start with some chemotherapy. I need to schedule a time to get you in as soon as possible. Would next Monday work?"
"I need to process it first and call you back," Beth said, with her voice breaking as she held back tears.
Ahead of the series premiere, Dog revealed in an interview he was not able to watch footage from the show before it airing on television because of his grief.
"I have not looked at none of these shows," Duane told PEOPLE. "I looked at the first show a little bit, but at that time, I wasn’t able to handle it."0comments
"So when everyone sees it Wednesday, I get to see it. First time," he said.