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‘Ballers’ and ‘Insecure’ Are Back: Here’s How Viewers Are Reacting

HBO is kicking off its fall season with the premieres of two of its hit shows, Ballers (now in its fourth season) and Insecure (season three), which both aired Sunday night.

According to emotion measurement AI company Canvs, while Ballers only garnered a little over 1,800 Emotional Reactions (ERs), Issa Rae’s Insecure sparked a respectable 22,677 ERs, making it the number one non-sports, non-special event program of the evening (leading the charts when it came to viewer emotion were the 2018 Teen Choice Awards, PGA Golf and MLS Soccer).

As you’d imagine, Ballers star The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson, who portrays Spencer Strasmore) prompted much of the emotional conversation, but one sparkpoint in particular stands out: a tweet sent by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren talking about why she loves Ballers so much — and it all comes back to The Rock, who replied lovingly, thanking her for the support.

Related: Network Deep Dive: Viewership Trends for HBO


When it came to the latest episode of Insecure, Issa drove the bulk of the emotional conversation, followed by Molly (Yvonne Orji) and Daniel (Y'lan Noel). Ride-sharing company Lyft also made the social-emotional headlines thanks to a plot point that has Issa working as a driver to make some extra cash.


Data from Inscape, the TV measurement company with glass-level data from a panel of more than 9 million smart TVs and devices, reveals that there was a good amount of viewership crossover between the two premieres on Sunday. Of the Ballers audience, 33% stuck around to watch Insecure, while 44% of Insecure viewers also tuned into Ballers.

Also of note is that this audience isn’t necessarily only into HBO or other premium content — of the other shows watched by these viewers, reality hit Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta on VH1 tops the list, followed by The Real Housewives of Atlanta, blackish, First Take and NBA Basketball.

Inscape also shared a heatmap of where households tuning into Ballers and Insecure are located (on the heatmaps below, the darker the color in the graphic, the more households were tuning in). Hot spots include DMAs around Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix, as well as Washington D.C., New York City, Atlanta and Miami.