It was a strong Sunday night for Showtime as both rookie drama Ray Donovan and its most popular series, Dexter, improved upon their season-opening audiences.
Ray Donovan, starring Liev Schrieber as a Hollywood fixer whose family life needs even more fixing of its own as his father (Jon Voight) exits jail after a 20-year stint, became the first Showtime original series to improve on its debut performance with its second installment. The July 7 episode garnered 1.56 million watchers in the 10 p.m, hour, according to Nielsen data, a 15% gain from the 1.35 million who saw its linear bow a week ago. Factoring in encores at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. (on July 8), Donovan delivered 2.2 million viewers.
Typically, new shows that retain 85% of their premiere audience are deemed to be heading for successful runs.
Thus far during its premiere week, Donovan is pacing 49% ahead of Homeland’s freshman season premiere week, according to officials at the premium network. All told, the premiere has tallied 4.25 million viewers over various encores and on-demand sessions. Final data for week one -- excluding live+7 -- will be available in the upcoming days.
For its part, Dexter also grew from its highest-rated premiere ever to average 2.52 million viewers last night at 9 p.m., up 2% from 2.48 million during the debut of its eighth and final campaign. This marked the first time that Dexter improved from its season premiere to its second episode. For the night, the series delivered 3 million viewers including replays at 12 a.m. and 2 a.m.