'Billions' Bows to Record Viewers for Showtime

Raking in 2.99 million viewers, the drama had the best series debut ever for the cabler.
JoJo Whilden/Showtime
Showtime's 'Billions'

Billions drew record numbers for Showtime on Sunday night.

The network's new financial drama starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti delivered the best original series debut performance ever for the cabler with 2.99 million views to date — a number that also includes data from both linear premiere night and advance sampling.

Sampled across platforms to Showtime subscribers early, Billions raked in 1.6 million views prior to its launch. On its actual premiere night, 1.4 million people tuned in to the drama that explores New York City power politics and finance. It's a record that was previously held by Ray Donovan, which attracted 2.91 million viewers in 2013.

“It’s a testament to the timeliness of the subject matter, the power of its stars and the brilliance of the show creators that Billions has had such a big start,” Showtime president and CEO David Nevins said Tuesday in a statement. “I can’t wait for our subscribers to experience how this season unfolds.”

Billions melds the worlds of ultra-wealth, influence and corruption, following two highly ambitious opposing figures, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) and billionaire hedge-fund king Bobby "Axe" Axelrod (Lewis). Maggie Siff, Malin Akerman, Toby Leonard Moore, David Costabile and Condola Rashad also star in the hourlong entry created by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Ocean's Thirteen) and Andrew Ross Sorkin (Too Big To Fail).

Billions airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.