Neither took anything home during last night’s Emmy Awards but it was a big night on Showtime for veteran Dexter and freshman Ray Donovan, which wasn’t actually eligible for the TV award this year, on Sunday. After eight seasons, Dexter wrapped up its run with a record 2.8 million viewers tuning in to say goodbye to Michael C. Hall’s serial killer. Having moved to the summer for the first time with this cycle, the 9 PM show was up from the more than 2.7 million who watched Dexter’s Season 7 finale on December 16, 2012. At the time, that Season 7 ender result was the highest-rated episode ever for a Showtime original series. In total with replays, Dexter had 3.3 million viewers on Sunday. On the whole, this last season averaged 6.4 million viewers for the show, another best. As for last night’s actual show, no spoiler. But there were deaths, this is Dexter after all, there were flights from the law and there was a beard in last night’s finale as the show went up against the Emmys, NFL Football and the second to last episode of Breaking Bad.
In contrast to Dexter’s Season 8 debut on June 30, which pulled in 2.48 million viewers, last night’s series finale was up 13% It also rose from the 2.4 million who watched the series’ Season 7 premiere on September 30 last year. That Season 8 result was the previous all-time premiere high for the show. While that number was good for Showtime at the time, it actually got better as Dexter rose the following week to 2.52 million viewers, the first time the show went up in its second week in series history.
Concluding its first season on Sunday. At 10 PM, Ray Donovan drew 1.406 million viewers. That’s the best show has ever done and the most successful freshman season finale for Showtime ever, beating out the previous record holder of the Season 1 end of Homeland. With the push of that Dexter lead-in, last night’s result is also up strong from the 1.35 million that the Liev Schreiber-led series garnered in its summer premiere at the end of June. That debut was the best original series premiere in Showtime’s history so far. Averaging 5.7 million viewers over its season, Donovan is now the third most watched original series in Showtime history behind the currently tied Homeland and Dexter. Like Dexter, Donovan also went up in its second week this season to 1.56 million viewers. Unlike Dexter, the Hollywood fixer drama will be back – Ray Donovan was renewed for a second season on July 16.