HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Debuts Final Season Even With Last Year, ‘Leftovers’ Finale Down

The end is nigh on HBO for the 18th Amendment and the Emmy-winning Prohibition Era drama that revolves around it. Boardwalk Empire launched its fifth and final season Sunday at 9 PM with 2.4 million viewers. That’s a match with the 2.4 million who watched the Season 4 premiere at 9 PM on September 8, 2013. Like last night’s season opener, the start of Season 4 also faced stiff competition from the Sunday Night Football season premiere on NBC.

The first of the Terence Winter-created series’ last eight episodes was also up 9%  from the audience of 2.177 million who tuned in for the Season 4 finale on November 24 last year. Jumping ahead several years and storylines from the end of Season 4, the Season 5 premiere finds Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson in 1931, trying to establish himself on the right side of the law ahead of the about-to-change booze reality of America. Introduced on January 17, 1920, Prohibition was repealed on December 5, 1933 after being seen as a social failure and a Depression Era effort to grab millions in tax revenue. Over a total of three plays Sunday, Boardwalk Empire had a total viewership of 2.9 million.

Laurie snuffs out Jill's cigaretteMeanwhile, HBO’s freshman The Leftovers ended its first run Sunday. The recently renewed series from showrunner Damon Lindelof drew 1.5 million viewers for its 10 PM airing. With the NFL on NBC as competition, that’s down 18% from the 1.85 million who watched The Leftovers on the long weekend Sunday of August 31. Over all plays September 7, Leftovers was seen by 1.7 million viewers.

The series based on executive producer Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel hit its season viewership high on August 24 when, as the lead-out to the series finale of True Blood, it was watched by an audience of 1.9 million. Leftovers debuted June 29 with a viewership of 1.77 million.

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