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'Outlander' spanking scene draws big female audience

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Starz’ Outlander returned to solid ratings last weekend, and posted some big gains over last summer’s season premiere.

Saturday night’s episode — which, yes, featured the notorious spanking scene — saw 1.2 million viewers tune in to see the resumption of Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) epic adventure, which is a 69 percent increase from the series debut.

Starz points out the numbers are despite going head-to-head against the NCAA Men’s Basketball semifinal (though we suspect there’s not a huge amount of cross-over between basketball fans and Heughan’s Heughligans). In fact, the telecast delivered Starz’ second-biggest female viewership ever.

The total for the weekend, including repeats, was 2.4 million viewers, which is actually on par with the first half of the season’s average. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Outlander pick up more viewers as we head toward the first season finale.