Saddled with a soft lead-in and up against the big premiere of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” HBO’s Dwayne Johnson football comedy “Ballers” wrapped its first season with its smallest same-night tune-in to date, but it still finishes as the network’s most-watched half-hour program in six years.
Sunday’s episode averaged 1.43 million viewers, according to Nielsen “live plus same-day estimates,” below its previous low of 1.57 million set one week earlier. After getting a solid lead-in from “True Detective” for most of its run, “Ballers” has aired behind the lightly watched “Show Me A Hero” for its last two weeks. On Sunday, “Hero” drew just 397,000 for its 9 p.m. airing.
According to the network’s analysis of Nielsen data, “Ballers” averaged a gross weekly multi-platform audience of 8.8 million viewers. That puts it third all-time among HBO comedies, behind “Sex and the City” (10.3 million) and the first season of “Hung” in 2009 (9.3 million).
In “live plus same-day” viewing, “Ballers” bowed in June with 2.16 million viewers, edging out the second-season premiere of “Silicon Valley” (2.13 million) as the network’s most-watched comedy episode since the series finale of “Entourage” in 2011 (2.61 million). Prior to Sunday’s finale, “Ballers” averaged 1.73 million viewers in “live plus same-day” and 2.55 million in “live+3.”
In adults 18-49, a key primetime advertising demo that has relatively little meaning for commercial-free HBO, “Ballers” averaged a series-low 0.71 rating on Sunday. For the season prior to Sunday, it averaged a 0.86 rating in same-day and a 1.31 rating in L+3. It ranks No. 1 among all new scripted cable series for the summer.
HBO’s other new comedy this summer, “The Brink,” quietly performed well and drew 872,000 viewers in “live plus same-day” for its finale. For its season prior to Sunday, the comedy fronted by Jack Black and Tim Robbins averaged 5.5 million viewers to rank seventh among most-watched HBO comedy seasons.
In adults 18-49, “Brink” did a 0.36 same-night rating for its finale. And for the season, it averaged a 0.47 same-day rating and a 0.70 in L+3.