Deadliest Catch hauls in biggest audience ever

Deadliest Catch brought aboard an audience of 5.54 million on Tuesday night, the biggest number ever for the Discovery Channel show.

By , CSMonitor.com

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    Deadliest Catch fan Heidi Petri, of Park Ridge, NJ, holds a photo of Captain Phil Harris as she attends a memorial service for Harris, April 30 in Seattle. Last Tuesday's episode was the most-viewed ever, with 5.54 million people tuning in to watch the first episode in a series that addresses the captain's passing.
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Deadliest Catch drew in 5.54 million viewers last Tuesday night, the highest number ever to tune in to the Discovery Channel's crab-fishing reality show.

The episode, "Blown Off Course," was the first to chronicle the passing of Capt. Phil Harris, the gruff captain of the Cornelia Marie fishing vessel and father of two. Capt. Harris died on Feb. 9.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the episode was the No. 1 ad-supported cable show in almost every demographic that night. The show's has been showing strong ratings for the past two months, with an average of 3.7 million viewers.

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IN PICTURES: Deadliest Catch

"Blown Off Course" was the first of a series of episodes paying tribute to the beloved sea captain. Last Tuesday's episode showed Harris first falling ill. The next seven episodes will show his crew and family dealing with Harris's deteriorating condition and eventual death.

The July 20th episode will be followed by an hour-long tribute to Harris's life, with one-on-one interviews with his two sons, Josh and Jake.

The two sons hope to carry on their father's legacy, hoping to purchase the Cornelia Marie. “I will try to get it back up and running at full strength, and be the full owner, and my guys can keep their jobs,” Josh Harris told People Magazine last week. “I will achieve my goals. One way or another, it will happen. There is no failure in a fisherman.”

IN PICTURES: Deadliest Catch

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