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Sopranos Kills in Season Debut

The season-five debut of Home Box Office mob hit The Sopranos garnered the show’s best-ever ratings Sunday night.

The premiere nabbed a 23.8 rating with a 32 share in HBO’s universe of about 30 million subscribers. That’s up from a 23.3 rating and a 31 share for last season’s premiere about 18 months ago.

Nielsen has changed the way it reports HBO’s ratings since then. Previously, the company counted all of the pay network’s channels, but starting in January Nielsen reports ratings only for the main HBO channel.

About 12.1 million viewers tuned in to the premiere. (The season four premiere attracted 13.4 million viewers). Among viewers 18-49, The Sopranos was the most-watched show in its time slot, beating out the broadcast networks.