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'Tudors’ Reign In Premiere On Showtime

New York— For Showtime, it was good to have the king — Jonathan Rhys Meyers in his portrayal of Henry VIII, that is.

The April 1 premiere of the premium network’s original series The Tudors at 10 p.m. drew almost 870,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Coupled with the 404,000 viewers that tuned in the hour immediately following, Showtime averaged 1.3 million viewers for the show’s debut night, the most since the service premiered Fat Actress in March 2005.

Showtime officials said The Tudors 10 p.m. bow outperformed the inaugural linear screenings for Weeds and Dexter, the network’s leading comedy and drama, by 78% in August 2005 and 44% in Oct. 2006, respectively.

The series also proved its mettle opener in the digital realm, earning a combined 1 million views online and on-demand via cable affiliates and through, and such partners as Yahoo, MSN, Netflix and IMDB. Showtime officials said the numbers exclude contributions from AOL, DirecTV and Dish Network, data for which wasn’t available at press time.