HBO's 'Luck' Ratings Slow Out of the Gate

The launch of the Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte horse racing drama matches its December preview.

HBO's horse racing series Luck opened slowly out of the gate Sunday.

The drama from Deadwood's David Milch and Michael Mann drew 1.1 million viewers to the premium cable network in its debut, matching the same viewership for its Dec. 11 sneak preview following the second season finale of Boardwalk Empire.

On Sunday at 9 p.m. -- airing with no lead-in -- the Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte series was topped in head-to-head competition with Showtime's sophomore Emmy Rossum-William H. Macy drama Shameless, which collected 1.37 million viewers, yup 7 percent week-over-week. 

By comparison, HBO's George R.R. Martin fantasy drama Game of Thrones opened to 2.2 million total viewers in April 2011, Martin Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire premiered to 4.8 million in September 2010 and Alan Ball's True Blood premiered to 1.4 million total viewers in September 2008.

To be fair, HBO's December Luck preview was a new strategy for the network, with Thrones, Boardwalk and True Blood not receiving any early sampling.

All told, Luck's total viewers -- including its December bow -- totaled 3.3 million in gross audience to date; rebroadcasts at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. drew 711,000 and 420,000 viewers, respectively.

HBO renewed the series for a second season early Tuesday.

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