Showtime says its new drama Billions snagged the best series debut performance ever for one of its original series: 2.99 million views to date. Billions was sampled early across platforms, delivering 1.6 million views prior to its Sunday night debut on the network – the most ever for a Showtime series. Then, on Sunday night, the Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis starrer delivered 1.4 million viewers on the network. Prior record holder Ray Donovan clocked 2.91 million views including linear premiere night and advance sampling on subscriber platforms in 2013.
Showtime offered a “free preview weekend” from January 16-18, which included the Billions premiere.
In late December, the premium cable network announced it would provide subscribers and non-subscribers alike with the opportunity to watch the pilot episode, as well as the sixth season premiere of Shameless. Starting on January 1, both shows’ 2016 premiere episodes were made available on YouTube, Facebook and SHO.com, as well as for download as a free video podcast on iTunes. Non-subscribers also could sample each episode via Hulu, Roku and Sony PlayStation Vue, as well as multiple television providers’ free On Demand channels, websites and applications. Showtime customers also were able to watch both shows via Showtime Anywhere, Showtime On Demand, and Showtime’s stand-alone streaming service available via various streaming platforms. The series premiered on the network 16 days later, on Sunday, January 17.
Former Homeland star Lewis returned to Showtime’s series lineup with Billions, which tracks the approaching collision between hard-charging, politically savvy U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti), and the brilliant, ambitious hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis). Maggie Siff, Malin Ackerman, David Costabile and Toby Leonard Moore co-star.