An average of 2.2 million people watched Sunday’s Season 2 debut of The Newsroom — the  HBO drama series journalists love to hate-watch — besting last year’s series unveiling (2.1 million). Across two plays for the night, Newsroom delivered 2.6 million viewers. One hour earlier, True Blood clocked 4.5 million viewers — its biggest audience this season. (Last season, The Newsroom had an average gross audience of 7.1 million viewers and True Blood 10 million.) The season launch numbers for the Aaron Sorkin drama are good news for HBO: last year’s unveiling was considered a great opening considering the series’ shocking lack of nudity, graphic sex and violence, severed heads of former presidents on sticks, dragons, vampires, or daughters of famous people in the cast. The pay cable network renewed Newsroom a month after the series premiere; the show ended up drawing 2.3 million viewers for its season finale in August, a ratings high mark for the series, despite the general state of knicker-knottedness about the show by TV critics and other members of the press. A month ago, the ensemble drama starring Jeff Daniels got some free publicity when Fox News Channel blasted the Season 2 trailer, calling the Sorkin series set at a fictional cable news network a “liberal fantasy”.

This morning, Reporters Who Cover Television began a second season of competitive Newsroom Hate Watching. Our personal fave was the one who noted the season debut elicited a “groan from everyone on Twitter” possibly the same “everyone” who, late last week, pronounced Sharknado a monster hit — and, by “monster hit” they meant 1.369 million viewers for the premiere.