1.4 million tune into ‘True Blood’

HBO series premiere has decent Sunday bow

HBO’s vampiric drama “True Blood” tapped into 1.4 million viewers upon its initial airing Sunday, topping off at 2.1 million when numbers for a 10:30 rebroadcast were factored in.

As series premieres for the pay cabler go, the high-profile series, written by “Six Feet Under” mastermind Alan Ball and airing at 9 p.m., debuted below the June 2007 bow of “John from Cincinnati, which averaged 3.4 million viewers leading out of the highly rated series finale of “The Sopranos.”

Still, “True Blood’s” initial outing ranks much higher than other recent post-“Sopranos”-era Sunday night HBO series premieres, including “Tell Me You Love Me,” which debuted to 910,000 viewers in September of last year. The vampire drama was going against the premiere of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which averaged 18.5 million viewers.

HBO officials expect “True Blood’s” viewer tally to exceed 4 million once repeat watching on myriad HBO platforms, as well as DVRs, are eventually factored in.

Leading out of “Blood” at 10 p.m., the fifth-season premiere of HBO’s “Entourage” tallied 1.6 million viewers, a 27% drop-off from the 2.2 million the series scored for its season four bow. (Season four, however, kicked off only two weeks after season 3 ended.)

In other notable cable ratings for Sunday night, MTV’s “Video Music Awards” averaged 8.4 million viewers, scoring the music cabler’s highest rating this year for persons 12-34 with a 6.2 rating/17 share. In this demo, it was the week’s top-rated program, broadcast or cable.

On Tuesday, TNT legal drama “Raising the Bar” delivered 5 million viewers after scoring a record-setting 7.7 million a week earlier for its premiere.