Vampire series True Blood on Sunday night captured HBO's largest audience outside of The Sopranos in more than five years.
The Aug. 23 premiere averaged 5.3 million watchers, according to Nielsen Media Research data, up 20% from the previous week's premiere.
Installments of the David Chase mob series aside, that was the top performance for an HBO show since a Deadwood episode on April 11, 2004, which was the lead out from The Sopranos that night.
True Blood, which has two more original episodes to premiere during its sophomore season, has delivered a gross audience of 11.6 million watchers when tallied over its various linear plays, DVR and HBO On Demand airings, according to the premium service.
The rest of HBO's Sunday-night lineup also played well with Hung averaging 3.3 million at 10 p.m., followed by 3.2 million for Entourage on Aug. 23.
Hung's gross audience has reached 9.4 million viewers per episode, while Entourage has pulled in 8.2 million through its various plays.
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