Showtime’s summer premieres of the final season of “Dexter” and debut season of “Ray Donovan” got off to a record start, while Lifetime’s “Anna Nicole” delivered the highest demo ratings of an original cable movie so far this year.
Season 8 of “Dexter” kicked off Sunday (June 30) with 2.5 million viewers, a bump from the 2.4 million viewers for the Season 7 premiere. That means every single season of “Dexter” officially bowed to bigger numbers than the previous season, and the series looks certain to finish out as one of Showtime’s all-time biggest success stories.
The big “Dexter” return surely helped lead-out “Ray Donovan,” which premiered to 1.35 million — the biggest series premiere audience in Showtime history. “Donovan” easily topped previous champ “Homeland,” which drew 1.08 million back in 2011.
However, the Emmy winning “Homeland” continued to grow with time and word of mouth, and drew 1.73 million for its Season 2 premiere. It remains to be seen if “Ray Donovan” — which earned significantly more mixed reviews from critics — can follow suit.
For the night, “Dexter” scored 3.2 million viewers over multiple airings and “Donovan” delivered 2.22 million over two plays.
Meanwhile, Lifetime biopic “Anna Nicole” — starring Agnes Bruckner as the Playboy Playmate turned cautionary tale — premiered to 3.3 million viewers on Saturday (June 29). That’s enough to tie “Prosecuting Casey Anthony” from January, and only slightly below the 3.5 million who tuned in for the network’s infamous “Liz & Dick” with Lindsay Lohan back in November.
Even with predictably lackluster reviews, “Anna Nicole” drew 1.6 million adults 25-54 and 1.4 million adults 18-49, making it the biggest original cable movie of the year to date in the demos and Lifetime’s biggest in the demos since last year’s smash “Steel Magnolias.”