It was a double blast of returns from Showtime on Sunday with the Season 2 premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex. With the former having moved from 10 PM to 9 PM and the later at 10 PM, the shows pulled in 1.22 million and 825,000 viewers, respectively. While the Donovan debut ray donovan seaosn 2was down 13% from the Season 1 finale last fall, it slipped  just 9% from the 1.35 million who watched its series premiere on June 30 last year – that served as the lead-out for the strong debut of the last season of  Dexter and become the best-ever series debut in Showtime’s history. For Sex, Sunday’s number was 17% down from the 998,000 who saw its Season 1 opener last fall. Over all plays on Sunday, Ray Donovan was seen by 1.76 million while Masters Of Sex was seen by 1.12 million.

Sunday’s premieres saw a bit of change for both dramas from their debuts last year. For one thing, both shows got Emmy Awards nominations last week for co-stars Jon Voight and Lizzy Caplan. Then there’s the fact that the masters of sex season 2Hollywood fixer series changed time slots and lost the great launch pad of the long-running Dexter as its lead-in last June. The 1950s-set Sex also had prime positioning with its opener coming right after the Season 3 premiere of Homeland on September 30, 2013.

What also puts Sunday night’s results in perspective: looking at the series’ individual Season 1 finales. Sex had 1.2 million viewers watch its December 15 freshman finale. Coming right after the record-breaking series finale of Dexter, Ray Donovan had an audience of 1.406 million for its Season 1 finale on September 22 – the best the show had ever done. That show was also the most successful freshman-season finale for Showtime ever, beating out the Season 1 end of Homeland.

Both Ray Donovan and Masters Of Sex showed strong digital after-lives in their first seasons, with the former averaging 6 million viewers a week and  the latter 4.9 million when DVR viewers and on-demand numbers were included.