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The season four premiere of Yellowstone on Sunday set records for Paramount Network and delivered one of the best on-air performances by a scripted series this season. The return of Dexter after eight years also put up solid numbers — though not anywhere near the scale of Yellowstone — on Showtime.
The two-episode Yellowstone premiere averaged 8.12 million viewers over its two-hour-plus running time, setting an all-time high for both the series and Paramount Network as a whole. The series’ previous best was 5.16 million viewers for the season three finale in August 2020. It also set series highs among adults 18-49 with a 1.56 rating over the two episodes.
Episode one drew 8.38 million viewers — the second-largest audience for an entertainment series on any broadcast or cable outlet so far this season, behind only the season premiere of CBS’ NCIS (8.45 million). Yellowstone also drew the biggest same-day audience for any cable scripted series in almost four years, since an episode of The Walking Dead in November 2017.
On Showtime, the premiere of Dexter: New Blood drew 678,000 viewers for its initial airing, the best on-air figure for the premium cabler since the series finale of Shameless (695,000) in April. That was less than a third of the show’s full audience for Sunday, however, as streaming and on-demand viewing gathered 1.3 million viewers, per Showtime, and an additional 188,000 caught an on-air replay, bringing the cross-platform total for Sunday to 2.17 million — the largest first-night audience for any premium cable scripted drama premiere in 2021.
On the broadcast networks Sunday, NBC’s Sunday Night Football led primetime as usual, though its 14.21 million viewers and 4.01 rating in adults 18-49 were both season lows. The Simpsons, aided by an NFL lead-in, had the best 18-49 rating of any other broadcast show at 1.15.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
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