If Westworld is getting a sophomore bump, it may not come from premiere night. The HBO drama returned after a year-plus break from the air on Sunday night, off a skosh from its opening night haul in 2016.
Nielsen has the 9 o’clock premiere fetching a steady 2.1 million viewers. With lifts from an encore and streaming plays on services HBO Go and HBO Now, the total climbed to 3 million viewers. That’s off 9 percent from the comparable total, 3.3 million viewers, for the series premiere.
Westworld’s return comes on the heels of a great deal of promotion. The drama, being eyed as an heir to Game of Thrones, was a comparatively modest linear performer in its freshman season but did gangbusters once all views were tallied. The first season averaged a whopping 13.2 million viewers across platforms, the biggest audience for a freshman run in HBO history — despite a modest showing in Nielsen stats.
The drama returned on what proved to be a particularly sleepy Sunday for the broadcast networks. Either way, it ranks as the network’s strongest-performing night in months. Recent drama Here and Now did little to move the dial on Sunday nights.
Westworld continues its 10-episode sophomore run on April 29. Expect HBO to release some more optimistic metrics for the drama’s premiere in the coming weeks.