'Weeds' sets Showtime ratings record

Pot-themed comedy most-watched premiere

Showtime's pot-themed comedy series "Weeds" started its fourth season off on a real high, becoming the network's most-watched telecast on record.

Meanwhile, the new series "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," which led out of "Weeds" on Monday night, gave the network its most-watched series debut since 2004, when Nielsen began reporting Showtime ratings separate from Showtime Plex.

"Weeds" averaged 1.3 million total viewers at 10 p.m. Monday, which broke the record held by a Season 2 episode of "Dexter" (1.2 million) that aired last year. An 11 p.m. repeat of "Weeds" averaged 406,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.

"Weeds" has seen its season premieres grow from the start. The series bow pulled in 488,000 viewers, while Season 2's debut averaged 578,000 and Season 3 started out with 824,000.

After "Weeds," "Call Girl" also did well, dialing up 949,000 total viewers at 10:30 p.m. That beat the series debut of "The L Word" (936,000) in 2004. The last new series to launch in a post-"Weeds" time slot was the comedy "Californication," which drew 550,000 viewers in its Aug. 13 bow.

Showtime president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt expressed his happiness with the numbers Tuesday.

"Our ratings were va-va-va-voom!" Greenblatt said. "Who said hedonism is passe?"

Elsewhere, A&E's "Intervention" averaged 2.1 million viewers with its Season 5 bow at 9 p.m. Monday, marking the most-watched season premiere for the unscripted series. That included 1.5 million viewers in the adults 18-49 demo and 1.4 million in adults 25-54.
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