‘Ray Donovan’ Premiere Sets Showtime Record With 1.35 Million Viewers

Network's 'Dexter' draws 2.5 million in its return

"Ray Donovan"

The combo of vet “Dexter” and newcomer “Ray Donovan” produced solid ratings for Showtime on Sunday, with the latter setting a record for a premiere on the network.

Nielsen estimates that the Liev Schreiber-fronted “Ray Donovan” averaged 1.35 million viewers in its 9 p.m. timeslot, about 25% more than the premiere of “Homeland” in 2011 and the most ever for a Showtime original series premiere — drama or comedy.

This is especially impressive given that “Ray Donovan” was sampled across multiple platforms in the two weeks leading up to its premiere Sunday. Within that period, an additional 816,000 Showtime subscribers sampled the series via Showtime on Demand and Showtime Anytime. Add in the 870,000 who tuned in for the quickie repeat late Sunday night, and the show’s premiere episode was watched by a gross audience of 3.04 million

The eighth and final season of “Dexter” kicked off Sunday with an average audience of 2.5 million for its 9 p.m. premiere (up from last year’s 2.4). And for the two episodes on the night, its 3.2 million bested last year’s 3.04 million.

Showtime notes that in previous seasons, nearly two-thirds of the overall audience for “Dexter” came after its initial 9 p.m. telecast — via replays, DVR, On Demand and authenticated viewing.