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OCT
3
3 YEARS

TV Ratings: 'Dexter' Premiere a Killer, 'Homeland' Debuts Strong

Rookie thriller "Homeland" becomes Showtime’s highest-rated drama bow in eight years.

Dexter
Randy Tepper/Showtime
"Dexter"

Dexter returned with a vengeance Sunday.

The Michael C. Hall starrer’s Season 6 premiere marked the series’ highest-rated premiere ever, drawing 2.2 million viewers at 9 p.m. for its best season bow ever and Showtime’s top telecast this year.

Sunday’s premiere, in which Dexter attended his high school reunion and began to explore religion, was up 24 percent compared with its fifth season opener. It also ranks as the premium cable network’s best season premiere for an original series in 14 years, topping 1997’s Stargate.

Repeat viewings at 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. drew an additional 571,000 viewers for a total of 2.76 million – up 18 percent year-over-year.

Dexter provided to be a powerful lead-in for Homeland, one of Showtime Entertainment president David Nevins’ first projects at the network.

STORY: 'Dexter' Season 6 Preview: Religion, Love and the Future

The Claire Danes drama became delivered Showtime’s highest-rated drama premiere in eight years, with its 1.08 million viewers at 10 p.m. besting the series bows of The Borgias (1.06 million) and Shameless (982,000).

Between repeat viewings and the 1.4 million viewers who streamed Homeland early – the premiere was made available online and via affiliate on demand channels two weeks ago – the political spy thriller was seen by 2.78 million total viewers.

STORY: 'Homeland' Star Claire Danes Says the Role 'Was Impossible to Ignore' (Video)

The numbers are especially strong when considering the increased competition coming from the Major League Baseball playoffs, NBC’s NFL coverage and new episodes of Desperate Housewives and The Good Wife.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit