'Tudors' is crown jewel at Showtime

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Nearly 1.3 million viewers hailed the debut and encore airing of Showtime's new series "The Tudors," starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII.

The drama premiered at 10 p.m. Sunday, drawing 870,000 viewers in the time period, followed by a repeat airing at 11 p.m. that averaged 404,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The 10 p.m. telecast drew more viewers than the series debuts of "Weeds" and "Dexter" — Showtime's highest-rated comedy and drama, respectively. "Tudors" did 78% better than "Weeds," which averaged 488,000 viewers in its series debut in August 2005, and 44% better than "Dexter's" Oct. 1 debut, which averaged 603,000 viewers.

"Tudors" also marked Showtime's highest series premiere in three years, since "Fat Actress" debuted in March 2005 to 924,000 viewers.

In addition, the 10 p.m. telecast also more than doubled the viewership of its lead-in, a repeat of "Dexter." Overall, "Tudors" appealed almost equally to males (46%) and females (54%).

Before the show's premiere, more than 1 million people sampled the show, based on available online and on-demand information (partners include Yahoo! NetFlix, ETOnline.com, Amazon, CinemaNow, Movielink, TVGuide.com and Comcast). That number is expected to double once additional information from such partners as AOL, DirecTV and EchoStar becomes available.
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