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Sunday series open well for Showtime

Comedy 'Lies' solid in bow; 'Shameless' up sharply in return

Showtime comedy “House of Lies” is off to a promising ratings start, while the net’s “Shameless” looked very good kicking off its second season.

The Don Cheadle starrer “House of Lies” drew a combined 1.6 million viewers over its three telecasts Sunday night, according to Nielsen — 13% higher than the 1.38 million for the airings of “Homeland” on its premiere night in October.

Nielsen preliminaries also show that the second-season debut of “Shameless” captured just over 2 million combined viewers over its two telecasts despite taking on original episodes of dramas on ABC, CBS and NBC.

For their premiere telecasts, “House of Lies” drew 1.03 million (on par with October’s launch of “Homeland”) and “Shameless” attracted 1.58 million — up from the 982,000 who watched its series preem a year ago and the 1.16 million who tuned in for its first-season finale last spring.

Showtime offered viewers a Free Preview Weekend, but the viewership levels released by Nielsen reflect only subscribers of the cabler.

“House of Lies” was offered by Showtime as a preview via online and on demand in December. Those viewings totaled 1.2 million.

“House of Lies,” which is produced by Showtime, toplines Cheadle as a head of a consulting firm. Series was created by Matthew Carnahan, who exec produces with Jessika Borsiczky, Stephen Hopkins and Cheadle.

U.K. import “Shameless,” exec produced by John Wells, Paul Abbott and Andrew Stearn, is from Warner Bros. Television. Also premiering Sunday was the fifth-season premiere of “Californication.” The David Duchovny skein drew 1 million viewers over two showings.