The Sunday 9 PM premiere of HBO’s limited mystery series Big Little Lies, starring and produced by Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, drew 1.1 million linear viewers and a total of 2.1 million viewers, factoring replays and viewing on the HBO Go/Now platforms (including Monday’s digital viewing). This was up 42% from the debut of HBO’s previous high-profile limited series, the acclaimed The Night Of (774,000 in linear premiere).
BLL also was up 48% from the debut of Vinyl in the same slot a year ago. It was off from the big recent debut of breakout sci-fi drama series Westworld (3.3 million in multi-platform viewing).
Big Little Lies‘ viewership held steady throughout the hour. Not surprisingly, BLL has become HBO’s most female-skewing hourlong series, with women comprising 57% of its audience.
That helped veteran comedy series Girls at 10 PM. With BLL as a lead-in, the second episode of the influential series’ final season drew 708,000 linear viewers, up 36% from the season debut last week. For the night, Girls’ tally crossed the 1 million viewer mark. (The show’s first episode has amassed nearly 2 million viewers to date.)
Girls led to the series premiere of the new Pete Holmes comedy series Crashing, executive produced by Girls executive producer Judd Apatow. The male-skewing half-hour did OK, drawing 540,000 linear viewers at 10:30 PM and 763,000 for the night. That was up 54% from the recent 10:30 PM HBO comedy debut of Issa Rae’s acclaimed Insecure and 26% over the most recent season opener of Togetherness, which followed Girls last year.
BLL’s tally is projected to climb significantly. On average, HBO ongoing and limited drama series, including Westworld and The Night Of, have garnered nearly 80% of their viewing outside of premiere Sunday nights.