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Showtime's The Tudors A Hit

Showtime scored big with its April 1 premiere of The Tudors. The show, the pay cable network's most expensive to date, drew 1.28 million viewers to its 10 p.m. premiere and 11 p.m. repeat combined. The premiere night was Showtime's best in three years, the network says.

Tudors, which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII, pulled in 869,000 for its 10 p.m. premiere - 44% better than that of the network's Dexter and 78% better than its Weeds. The 11 p.m. episode averaged 404,000 viewers.

Showtime, which has about 14.5 million subscribers, pumped more money into making The Tudors than it has for any previous original. The co-production with Reveille and Working Title cost about $2 million an episode to make.

The network also dispatched The Tudors to more digital outlets than it had any other original to encourage sampling. Clips or full episodes were available at online outlets including Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, imdb, ETOnline, Amazon, Cinemanow, Netflix and Movielink, as well as through affiliates' video-on-demand offerings.

Elsewhere in cable programming news, Bravo said it is developing MoneyShot, a reality competition about wannabe photographers. The winner gets money and a chance at getting a picture in People magazine. The pilot comes from 25/7 Productions (The Biggest Loser). Dave Broome is executive producing.