12:41pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'True Blood' Season 5 Premiere Pulls 6.3 Million Viewers
Five seasons in and no one could accuse True Blood of having an anemic viewership.
The HBO series returned Sunday night with 5.2 million viewers during its inaugural 9 p.m. ET broadcast. Adding the total from its 11 p.m. encore, the episode grossed 6.3 million viewers for the night. It marks a 4 percent decline since last summer's premiere but a 3 percent increase vs. its Season 4 finale.
For the better part of the last two seasons, True Blood's Sunday numbers have hovered between 5 million and 5.4 million. Its fourth run in 2011 bowed to a near record of 5.424 million, later building steam in the season and reaching a series high of 5.53 million on Aug. 21. Three weeks later it concluded the season with a somewhat softer 5.052 million.
This marks the first season that True Blood hasn't built upon its previous season's premiere. Launching to just 1.44 million viewers in 2008, it jumped with each ensuing season, becoming HBO's most-watched series.
Meanwhile, the Season 1 finale of Veep drew 1.1 million viewers in its 10 p.m. initial screening, picking up an additional 288,000 in its midnight encore and ending its freshman season with an average gross audience of 3.7 million viewers for the season. Fellow first-year comedy Girls pulled in 866,000 and 224,000 viewers, respectively, at 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Season to date, Girls averaged 4.1 million viewers. Both comedies have been renewed for second seasons.