With a good-ish portion of Season 1’s cast gone, and a somewhat sunnier reboot, the Season 2 opener of HBO’s rapture-drama The Leftovers averaged 713,000 total and 413,000 demo viewers Sunday in Live+Same Day ratings for its time-slot premiere.
On June 29, 2014, the series premiere of the high-concept post-rapture drama pulled in 1.8M viewers in its 10 PM slot on a Sunday. (Damon Lindelof‘s The Leftovers originally had been set to debut June 15 of that year, following the Season 4 finale of Game Of Thrones. But when the it took an unexpected hiatus after Episode 6, with HBO calling it “a short hiatus to prep our final episodes”), it lost that cushy launch platform, instead getting slotted after an episode of True Blood.)
That difference between its S1 launch and S2’s starter is a precipitous 60% drop. HBO has, for some time, declined to discuss L+SD ratings, arguing, as do many other TV networks, the stats are irrelevant in today’s viewing environment. Others argue, however, a 60% skid is virtually impossible to overcome.
The freshman season of the HBO drama had ended its first run in early September 2014, drawing 1.5 million viewers for that 10 PM airing. With the NFL on NBC as competition, that was down 18% from the 1.85 million who watched The Leftovers on the long weekend Sunday of August 31. Over all plays September 7, Leftovers was seen by 1.7 million viewers.
The series, based on executive producer Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel, hit its first-season viewership high on August 24 when, as the lead-out to the series finale of True Blood, it was watched by an audience of 1.9 million watching its initial 10 PM airing.