'True Blood' Is Nielsen Blue Blood For HBO


HBO's True Blood continues to build, as the vampire series sucked in a new series viewership mark on Sunday night.

The Aug. 29 premiere, going up against the Emmys for which the series was nominated in the outstanding drama category, attracted 5.4 million viewers in the 9 p.m. hour. The episode, entitled Fresh Blood, garnered another 1.2 million watchers during its encore at 11:30 p.m., according to Nielsen data.

Excluding that installment, True Blood has averaged a weekly gross audience of 12.6 million viewers this season to date, when linear plays, DVR and HBO On Demand runs are accounted for.

True Blood's third-season finale, "Evil is Going," is set for Sept. 12.

Sunday night was also a strong one for Entourage. The Hollywood buddy series, winding down its penultimate campaign, took in a season-high 2.9 million viewers at 10:30 p.m, while lead-in Hung notched 2.5 million.

Season to date the series have accumulated gross audience averages of 7.7 million and 6.7 million, respectively.