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Dexter Season Premiere Kills

The third-season premiere of Showtime's Dexter drew 1.2 million viewers during its Sept. 28 9 p.m. debut, up 21% from last season's premiere and 20% from the season finale.

The ratings made it the highest-rated drama premiere on Showtime since Nielsen Media Research started breaking out numbers for premium networks in 2004.

Dexter had the benefit of some free publicity on sister network CBS earlier this year, when reruns of the show aired on the broadcast network, which was feeling a programming pinch as a result of the writers' strike.

The show, which was edited for content to meet FCC and CBS broadcast standards, drew more than 8 million viewers during its premiere on the network—not much for CBS but more than seven times as many as its highest-rated episode on Showtime.