Showtime’s new drama Homeland premiered with 1.08 million viewers last night, delivering the pay cable network’s highest-rated drama debut in eight years, since Dead Like Me’s 1.11 million in June 2003. It was the third consecutive Showtime drama series premiere to post Showtime’s best numbers since Dead Like Me, starting with Shameless (982,000) in January and Borgias (1.06 million) in April. But while Shameless and Borgias aired at 9 PM, Homeland ran at 10 PM, following the blockbuster sixth-season premiere of Dexter (2.2 million), which was 24% from last year and marked the hit series’ highest-rated premiere ever and Showtime’s best original series opener in 14 years, since Stargate in 1997. Including the 11 PM and 1 AM, encores, the Dexter premiere averaged 2.76 million viewers, up 18% from last year. Homeland, which held onto half of its Dexter lead-in, averaged a total of 1.38 million viewers for the night, factoring in the 12 AM and 2 AM encores. Including online/on-demand pre-premiere viewing, the Homeland premiere episode has been seen by 2.78 million.
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