‘Billions’ Premiere Sets Showtime Record

Showtime drama Billions had the best debut in the history of the network’s origina series, with just short of three million views. The show, which officially debuted Jan. 17, benefited from early previews for subscribers, as well as the network’s decision to make the channel free for the weekend for subscribers of several major cable and telco outfits.

Pre-debut viewing delivered 1.6 million views, with 1.4 million more tuning in to the premiere. That tops the 2.91 million drama Ray Donovan got, including linear and advance sampling, in 2013.

“It’s a testament to the timeliness of the subject matter, the power of its stars and the brilliance of the show creators that Billions has had such a big start,” said David Nevins, president and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. “I can’t wait for our subscribers to experience how this season unfolds.”

Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis star in the drama, which Showtime says “melds the worlds of ultra-wealth, influence and corruption as personified in two highly ambitious opposing figures.”

Billions is created, written and executive produced by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, and Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.