Hot Like Fire: Aaliyah TV Movie Lands Huge Numbers For Lifetime

“Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” may be receiving tremendous backlash from viewers who were outraged by the film’s casting choices for characters like R. Kelly, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Damon Dash and other pivotal rolls, but despite the criticism people tuned in.

The long-awaited and controversial movie starring Alexandra Shipp as the late singer premiered on Saturday night and averaged 3.2 million viewers during its initial telecast.

That makes “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” the second cable telepic of 2014, only behind Lifetime’s other film “Flowers in the Attic.”

Additionally, the follow-up documentary, “Beyond the Headlines: Aaliyah” also had solid ratings, maintaining much of the film’s initial audience with 2.7 million viewers.

Wendy Williams talks “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B”

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In addition to having stellar TV ratings, the show was the number one topic on Nielsen Media’s mutable Twitter ratings, where topped the chart with 997,000 tweets and reaching a unique audience of 3.4 million.

Fans posted memes on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram poking fun of the casting choices for “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B” and slamming talk show Wendy Williams for executive producing the made-for-TV movie.

Williams addressed the backlash over the film on her syndicated talk show “The Wendy Williams Show” on Monday.

“I see my Aaliyah movie broke the Internet this weekend! Errbody got an opinion. Well, I must tell you, whether you loved or hate, you watched. It was the second-highest rated movie on all of cable this year so far,” she said, proudly.

The film was actually cast by Tracy ‘Twinkie” Bird whose credits include “Fruitvale Station,” “Notorious,” “Jumping the Broom,” “Being Mary Jane” and other film and TV projects.

Williams signed on as an executive producer after the film was in production. Debra Martin Chase, Howard Braunstein and Homas Mark Walden are executive producers who were in place for the duration of the film.

Performance scene from “Aaliyah: Princess of R&B”

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