Showtime’s well-reviewed horror series “Penny Dreadful” was a popular draw in its premiere Sunday, averaging 872,000 viewers for its first airing and 1.443 million viewers for the night — topping the network’s recent launches of “Homeland” and “Masters of Sex.”
And unlike “Homeland” and “Masters of Sex,” “Penny Dreadful” did not have the benefit of a strong drama lead-in. It also bowed at a time of lower viewing levels than the others, which opened in the fall.
An additional 900,000 subscribers sampled the series in the two weeks leading up to its premiere Sunday or Showtime on Demand and Showtime Anytime, according to Nielsen. This brings the total for “Penny” to 2.3 million viewers.
The series premiere was also offered across multiple platforms including YouTube, the Showtime website, via a number of television providers’ websites, on the Showtime Preview app on Smart TVs, as well as for download as a free video podcast on iTunes. Additional online sampling data will be available in the upcoming weeks for those platforms though early data shows that over 500,000 non-Showtime viewers have sampled the series to-date.
According to Showtime, roughly 62% of the “Penny Dreadful” audience was comprised of adults under 50, making it the youngest-skewing audience for a drama since the premiere of “Dexter” in 2006 (65%).
Showtime offered a Free Preview weekend, but the data for those non-subscribers is not included in the 2.3 million-viewer count.