Dexter Kills Showtime Record

Showtime’s Sept. 30 debut of its sophomore drama series Dexter set a network viewership record for a series premiere, drawing 1 million viewers.

Dexter, which stars Michael C. Hall as a Miami police officer who doubles as a serial killer, marks the first time a Showtime original series debut has reached the seven-figure viewer mark. The 9 p.m. airing of the season two premiere killed the network’s former record of 964,000 viewers set this past April 4 with the premiere of the Henry VIII period piece Tudors, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Showtime created a massive promotional campaign around the show, which included dying water fountains in 14 cities blood red and cordoned them off with Dexter-branded yellow tape.

Showtime’s other original series debuting this past Sunday, Brotherhood, did not fare as well. The drama that pits two bothers, a mobster and a politician, against each other for control of a small Northeast town, garnered 371,000 viewers, below the series’ 494,000 viewers generated for its July 2006 freshman season debut. 

The Sept. 30 Brotherhood premiere episode did perform better than the September 2006 finale of the series’ first season, which drew just 208,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.