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'Penny Dreadful' Digs Up 1.44M Showtime Viewers

The debut of Showtime's latest original drama series was anything but dreadful.

The linear premiere of Penny Dreadful garnered 1.44 million viewers on Sunday night, topping the bows of Homeland and Masters of Sex by 5%, according to Nielsen data, as both of the dramas garnered 1.38 million in their first seasons. The Penny Dreadful premiere at 10 p.m., though, lagged the debuts for the aforementioned series.

However, those totals do not reflect the complete viewership for the series starter.

Penny Dreadful added another 900,000 subscribers to its tally via sampling on Showtime on Demand and Showtime Anytime in the two weeks ahead of its linear launch, raising its total to 2.3 million viewers.  According to Showtime officials, 62% of the Penny Dreadful premiere audience was between the ages of 18 and 49, making it the youngest-skewing audience for a drama on the premium service since Dexter’s series premiere in 2006 with 65%.

The above totals also don't include any of the viewing of the show that was offered across multiple platforms including YouTube, the Showtime website, a number of television providers' portals, on the Showtime preview app on Smart TVs, as well as for download as a free video podcast on iTunes. Additional online sampling data will be available in the upcoming weeks for those platforms though early data shows that over 500,000 non-Showtime viewers have sampled the series to-date.

Moreover, Showtime offered a free preview this past weekend, with the data for non-network- subscribers not reflected in the 2.3 million viewer count listed above

Penny Dreadful features some of literature’s most famous characters – including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula, reimagined and embroiled in Victorian London. The series stars Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper,  Danny Sapani and Harry Treadaway are also featured players.