Ratings: Homeland Spies Strong Debut, Dexter Premiere Delivers All-Time High

Homeland, Showtime’s new thriller starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, commanded 1.1 million viewers in its Sunday-at-10 debut, marking the cabler’s most watched drama premiere in eight years (since Dead Like Me). That led out of Dexter‘s biggest season premiere audience to date (2.2 million).

With its first airing, Homeland outperformed the recent premieres of The Borgias (1.06 million viewers) and Shameless (982,000 viewers) — and that’s coming off online and On Demand sneak previews (which combined to accumulate 1.4 million samplers) and opposite significant broadcast and cable competition. All told, factoring in Sunday night encores, Homeland played to 2.78 million total viewers.

Sunday’s Broadcast Ratings: Pan Am Flies Lower, 60 Minutes Surges

Dexter meanwhile continued its streak of consistently improving on previous premieres, this time with the Season 6 opener besting Season 5’s by 24 percent. The return of America’s favorite serial killer also marked the best season premiere for a Showtime series in 14 years (since Stargate circa 1997).

Dexter‘s 9 pm audience of 2.2 million also represents Showtime’s most-watched telecast telecast of 2011. Factoring in encores, the dark drama played to 2.76 million viewers.

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25 Comments
  1. Em says:

    Is anyone really surprised that Dexter did so well in the ratings? Every year, more and more people get hooked on this show because Showtime is erally good with their On Demand content and marketing plan. And it is DEFINITELY talked about. Happy for the Dexter cast and crew since this looks like a good season, but I am not surprised at all by this.

    • Ana Muller says:

      Dexter is one of the best shows on television, not just right now but ever. It deserves all the audience it gets.

  2. MEKISHA HALE says:

    Watch “Dexter” on “Showtime” last night and loved it!!!
    Finally the show of the night was good. And the edition of the actors “Collin Hanks” and Hip Hop Artist/Actor “Mos Def” really makes it a compelling show and story line for the show of “Dexter”.

  3. DL says:

    Glad to hear this news. I thought the “Dexter” premiere wasn’t the greatest, but it promised a very good season, so I’m quite excited.
    “Homeland” was similar to “Dexter” in the respect that while it wasn’t the strongest pilot I’ve seen, it set up a ton of interesting conflict, mystery and drama for the show’s first season.
    So all in all, I’m pumped to watch the full season of both shows!

  4. Buffy Freak says:

    I love Dexter…but I couldn’t care less about LaGuerta’ blackmail-into-promotion scheme, Bautista’s new-found sister or Masuka’s interns. I love dark humor but the humor last night was a little over the top and fell flat. Anyone who didn’t know the intern was going to faint has never seen a TV show before.

    • Janet says:

      So you were not interested in the story lines of the non-white actors. You must not like anything “dark”, but you enjoy the “dark humor”.

      • Buffy Freak says:

        You nailed me Janet…I am a huge racist…actually I run my area’s KKK group…moron. Actually I’m Latin. But feel free to make assumptions all you like….I don’t like their storylines because they are boring and played by pretty mediocre-to-bad actors.

        • jennrae says:

          That’s actually pretty accurate. The Angel-LaGuerta marriage last season was a nonstarter. Who cares?

          Although I did like the premiere, the kills-of-the-week are kind of done-and-done for me. Dexter dancing? Awesome! And I really like the more fun interactions between Dex and his dad. Loved him telling Dexter to nail that prick in the nose.

    • Samantha says:

      I’ve never been a LaGuerta fan so I’m with you on that. She’s just not likable.

  5. Snapy says:

    Disappointed that Dexter’s ratings have gone up. I think it’s getting time to wrap up the series. I want him to get *caught* already! And jailed and executed. Because, let’s face it, a serial killer is a serial killer no matter how you slice it.

    • ESLKid75 says:

      Pun intended? :-)

    • Fido says:

      Killing Dexter off as the series finale would be as great a travesty as if they killed off Jason Voorhees in the finale F13 movie (though the 2009 movie kinda sqrewed that up). IMHO the series should end with him free, retired from killing, but leaving the viewers without out a doubt that he wouldn’t be taking no bs from anyone – so more of an extended hiatus than full retirement. :)

  6. Ellen says:

    I adore Dexter and can’t wait for the season to begin each year. But last night I was disturbed – it was SO violent. It was definitely a new Dexter, which is good, but between the snakes in the belly and the murderer he met at the reunion, it was a lot of process. In fact, the snakes subplot actually made me, for the first time, cover my eyes — it was SO creepy I couldn’t watch (no, I don’t watch horror movies – my kids always laughed at me). Can’t wait for next week though, violence and all. Oh, and I love the babysitter – thought his renting two adjoining apt. units was interesting. Did he sell the house?

    • Buffy Freak says:

      He moved back into his original apartment last season after Rita was murdered and I guess he bought or rented the adjoining apartment.

    • jennrae says:

      I thought the snakes looked beyond fake. Otherwise I would have been hiding under a blanket. Creepy! But I really wouldn’t call it violent exactly…Dex shocking the EMT’s was probably the most violent to me, and it was tame.

  7. Lynne says:

    OMG what would it take to satisfy some of you? I love Dexter and was excited about the premier which did not disappoint. I thought it started out with a bang and while I love the dark humor, I also enjoy the side stories. I found the divorce of LaGuerta and Batista a surprise (but I don’t know why) and her blackmail scheme to get a promotion was right in line with her character. While I think Dexter should ultimately be caught, I hope it continues as long as the writer’s can continue to write excellent programming. I also thought Homeland was great and really promising. Since network TV is so disappointing, I am very thankful for Showtime.

  8. Dennis says:

    I think “Dexter” has gotten a little worse each season…the first two seasons were really great, but last season was dreadful, and it seems like the writers are getting sloppier by the season…I wish they would rap it up too…the show has such great potential, but just consistently lacks any subtlety… I will likely watch this season, cuz I have hung on this long, but the show is better in theory than in practice, at this point.

    • Jason C. says:

      Are you honestly saying that season 4 was worse than season 3?! Or even season 2? I completely disagree if you are, and I also think last season was better than season 3 as well.

  9. Jason C. says:

    I got a little nostalgic for Dead Like Me after reading this. Oh Georgia Lass, aka Millie, how I miss you…

  10. Justin says:

    Homeland is officially the best new show of the season. This show has major potential to be seriously amazing. Loved that pilot.

  11. amandria says:

    The year with Lithgow….was the best. I loved last year to with Lumen, of course I wished he had gotten a little more happiness. I love that his character has more depth, even if he can’t feel he can reason and still want the best for his son making him more and more human.

    and NO I hope Dexter never gets caught ever. He is justice, plain and simple.

  12. Samantha says:

    Homeland is probably the best fall show. Everything else that premiered was pretty weak. I actually wasn’t interested but tonight a friend wanted to watch so we did and it was SO GOOD!

  13. Laura says:

    I loved Dexter’s season 6 premier and I also love LaGuerta. I can’t help to defend LaGuerta’s character because there are so many people bitching about her. Her character is suppose to be a bit polarizing, but if your someone with a attention span, and you truly follow the show, then it wouldn’t escape you that her character has softened over the past 6 season’s. She’s a women working in a field dominated by a men, and she works for womanizing, egotistical, self-centered, misogynistic, racist boss! But of course no one recognizes any of that because, you’re only concentrating on Dexter and his next kill. It’s downed on me that people don’t really watch this show, but rather glance at the television set absentmindedly, and that’s truly a shame.

  14. TigerNightmare says:

    More people need to talk about Homeland! It shows enormous promise and the cast is pitch perfect.

    Also, nerds: Morena Baccarin’s boobs are even more perfect than you imagined. She also happens to kill in a role that’s much more interesting, complex and compelling than V’s Anna. But yeah. Boobs.

  15. db says:

    HOMELAND has an interesting premise, but it’s SO unbeliavable–mainly because I’m not buying Claire Danes’ acting. Her character is taking non-psychotic meds (which would mean shems schizophrenic or has some other mental illness)…yet Danes’ is playing Carrie Mathison so one dimensional. I’m not buying at all that she’s a high ranking CIA spy/handler.
    Mandy Patankin is also flat–I’m starting to think itms the directing and maybe not so much the acting. Let’s face it: if Patankin shaved his beard I wouldn’t know if I was watching Homeland or Criminal Minds.
    Damien Lewis is great. I’m glad to see someone was intelligent enough to give him another leading role. I just hope Danes doesn’t drag down the show like Sarah Shahi (no offense, but not the best actor) dragged down LIFE.
    Is it enough to keep teasing us that one of the lead characters in Homeland is either a traitor or just simply crazy? I think not. Carrie’s character should be much more interesting and involved. I’m not buying that she’s crazy, nor am I buying that she’s a competant CIA agent. She’s just there.