‘True Blood’ Scares Up Modest Debut Audience

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Home Box Office took a decent bite out of the Sunday night television audience, drawing 2.1 million combined viewers for its Sept. 7 premiere of vampire-tinged original series True Blood.

The Allan Ball-produced series debuted at 9 p.m. with 1.4 million viewers, with a repeat 10:30 p.m. airing drawing an additional 700,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The series stars Anna Paquin as a southern cocktail waitress who falls for a 173-year-old vampire (portrayed by Stephen Moyer) against the backdrop of the discovery of a new synthetic drink that allows vampires to walk among humans without craving their blood.

While the series drew more viewers than the 910,000 that tuned into the September 2007 premiere of Tell Me You Love Me, it fell short of other HBO series premieres such as Big Love (4.5 million), Rome (3.8 million) and John From Cincinnati (3.4 million)

The pay TV service’s Hollywood comedy series Entourage performed slightly better, averaging 1.6 million viewers during its 10 p.m. Sunday season-five premiere, according to Nielsen. That number, however was down 25% from the 2.2 million viewers the network averaged during Entourage’s June 17, 2007 season four premiere. 

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