'The Borgias' Bow Solid for Showtime

The historical drama becomes pay cabler’s best drama series premiere since "Dead Like Me" in 2003.

Showtime’s new historical drama The Borgias opened strong, becoming the pay cabler’s best drama series bow in seven years with 1.06 million viewers tuning in Sunday.

The ratings for the 9 p.m. premiere topped April 2007 series premiere of The Tudors, Showtime’s previous time period drama, by 22 percent.

An encore presentation of the two-hour Borgias premiere drew an additional 432,000, for a total viewership of 1.49 million.

Ratings for The Borgias, starring Jeremy Irons as Spanish cardinal Rodrigo Borgia who wound up becoming Pope Alexander VI, also topped the January bow of Showtime’s Emmy Rossum drama Shameless, which collected 982,000 total viewers.

The Borgias bow marked Showtime’s best drama series premiere since Dead Like Me attracted 1.11 million viewers in June 2003.