TV Ratings: 'The Strain' Delivers Big Premiere Week, 'Masters of Sex' and 'Ray Donovan' Get DVR Lifts

The Strain Sean Astin Mia Maestro - H 2014

The Strain Sean Astin Mia Maestro - H 2014

Oh, what a difference three days make.

Last Sunday brought one cable premiere (The Strain) and two pay cable returns (Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex), and each series saw significant growth thanks to the first round of live-plus-3 day time-shifting.

FX's The Strain, in particular, was pretty substantial. After delivering nearly 3 million viewers during its premiere telecast, DVR pushed the Guillermo del Toro horror-drama to 4.7 million viewers. What's more, encores lifted the total haul to 8 million viewers. Among the network's targeted adults 18-49, where it pulled 2.43 million, it now ranks as the best demo premiere on cable this year.

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"For a show to come out of the gate like this in the most crowded environment in TV history is just amazing," said FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf. "It's always gratifying when a show comes together from a creative, production and marketing standpoint. Working with Guillermo and Carlton [Cuse] to bring the unique vision of Guillermo and Chuck's books to the screen has been a thrill."

A network release forecasts a total of 10 million viewers tuning in once live-plus-7, VOD and streaming data is tallied.

Showtime's admittedly smaller hauls for its Sunday shows still represent significant postpremiere growth. Ray Donovan jumped 52 percent to 1.9 million viewers, while Masters of Sex improved 68 percent to 1.4 million viewers. It was a new night for Showtime, with both series previously enjoying handsome lead-ins from the network's two biggest series ever: Dexter and Homeland, respectively. And being free of those lead-ins brought expected drops for both.

"They were both down a little in that Sunday, 10 p.m. viewing, but you're going to see big growth in on-demand and DVR," said Showtime president David Nevins at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Friday. "Those people tuning in didn't run into it after Dexter or Homeland. They made appointment viewing."