Dexter, Californication Debut Solid for Showtime

A sleep-deprived Dexter Morgan scared up big numbers for Showtime, as the season-four premiere of the premium network’s serial killer drama drew 1.52 million viewers Sunday night at 9 p.m., an increase of 25 percent over last season’s premiere (1.22 million).

Along with the 403,000 viewers who tuned in for the 11 p.m. encore presentation, Dexter’s opening night lured 1.92 million total viewers, per Nielsen ratings data. The 9 p.m. premiere now stands as the most-watched program on Showtime since 2004, when Nielsen began reporting Showtime ratings apart from the network’s multiplex channels (i.e., Showtime Too, Showcase, etc.).

Dexter’s return unseats the June 16, 2008, season-four premiere of Weeds as Showtime’s most-watched program. That episode drew 1.3 million viewers.

Leading out of Dexter at 10 p.m., the David Duchovny vehicle Californication drew its biggest audience in 25 episodes, averaging 821,000 viewers, an increase of 57 percent over the season-two opener. For the night, Californication averaged a hair over 1.2 million viewers.
 
A week ago, rival pay TV service HBO drew 1.1 million viewers with its season-seven premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Along with an encore, Curb averaged 1.9 million viewers on Sept. 20. New series Bored to Death held onto 92 percent of its Curbed lead-in, drawing 1 million viewers. A repeat added another 600,000 viewers to Bored to Death’s inaugural tally.