It was a night of bloody Victorian beginnings, some tribulations in Westeros and D.C. season highs on cable Sunday. The beginning was the premiere of Showtime’s new 19th century horror series Penny Dreadful. Created by Oscar-nominated scribe John Logan and exec produced by Skyfall director Sam Mendes, the 10 PM series debut drew just 872,000. That’s a far drop from the 1.35 million Ray Donovan got when it debuted on June 30 last year in the same time slot. With a stronger lead-in of Dexter as compared to Californication last night, the debut of the Hollywood fixer series last summer was the best original series premiere in Showtime’s history. Over the multiple plays last night, Penny Dreadful had a total of 1.443 million viewers. Of note is that 895,000 of those viewers, or 62%, were in the adults 18-49 demo – the best such result for a Showtime drama since Dexter launched in 2006 with 65% demo in its total viewership. Over all its plays, last night’s grouping of Victorian icons was also a slight 5% gain on what Homeland and Masters Of Sex had in their 2011 and 2013 fall debuts. Also of note is that Penny Dreadful’s premiere episode has been available online for the past two weeks and attracted 900,000 Showtime subscribers.
Over on HBO, Game Of Thrones took a tumble from last week’s season high of 7.2 million to 6.4 million total viewers. Lead-out freshman Silicon Valley was also down to 1.7 million at 10 PM from a high of 1.8 million on May 4. The real winner was the fictional Vice-President of the United States. Six weeks into its third cycle, Veep hit a new season viewership high with 1.1 million watching. Ending the original content for HBO on Sunday, the John Oliver-hosted Last Week Tonight held steady with just more than 1 million viewers watching.