Dexter Delivers 8.14 Million Viewers For CBS

Dexter diced ‘em pretty good in its CBS debut.

Showtime’s serial killer series, starring Michael C. Hall in the eponymous lead role, averaged 8.14 million viewers, including 2.98 million adults 18 to 49, in its 10 p.m. window on Sunday Feb. 17, according to Nielsen Media Research data. 

The Sunday night airing on CBS represents an almost six-fold jump from Showtime’s best-ever showing for Dexter, which garnered 1.39 million viewers for its second-season finale on Dec. 16 at 9 p.m.

Added to its lineup as a strike gambit, CBS began its run with the series’ premiere episode and plans to run the remaining 11 installments of the first season sequentially.  

Gauged against Dexter’s first season average of 733,000 viewers for its premiere showings, the Feb. 17 performance on CBS marked more than 11-fold surge. During its 12-episode second season on Showtime, Dexter averaged over 1 million in its initial window.

CBS, which prior to the Writers’ Guild of America strike had been running Shark in the Sunday 10 p.m. time slot, is in 113 million homes, versus some 15 million for Showtime.

The broadcaster is not paying a license fee for Dexter, which instead will benefit from significant sampling in the months to come, ahead of its third-season return this fall.

“Sunday night was a great start. It was new programming for CBS and with more than 8 million viewers, terrific promotion for Dexter and Showtime,” said CBS spokesman Ed Harrison.