Dexter Slays Audience, Receives Killer Numbers

The massive advertising campaign behind Showtime‘s hit Dexter paid off. 1.2 million people saw the show’s third-season premiere — 21 percent more than last year — making it the most-watched premiere of a drama on the network since 2004 when Nielsen altered its ratings formula.

This season marks the first without writer/producer Daniel Cerone but it didn’t hurt the content of the show. Some media watchers attributed Dexter‘s success to its short run on CBS.

How did the station’s other heavily-promoted show, Californication, fare?

Not as well. The audience of 522,000 was down five percent over last year. The premiere of the David Duchovny vehicle was available online two weeks before the television debut, which might have negatively impacted the ratings, as could have the star’s ongoing difficulties.