While officially numbers for the series still do need to come in, Deadline is reporting right now that the first episode drew 3.3 million viewers in between live viewership on HBO and the HBO NOW / HBO GO streaming services. If this holds, it will mark the best start by an HBO original series since we saw “True Detective” premiere to a very similar number a couple of years back. “Game of Thrones” remains the biggest hit on the network by a wide margin, but nobody expected this series, based on the work of Michael Chrichton, to come anywhere close to the fantasy epic.
Typically with premium cable series, the idea is that word of mouth will spread over time that a project is of the utmost quality, and that eventually more viewers will discover you and recommend you in turn. This is what aided some shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” or “Sons of Anarchy,” which started with ratings far lower than where they were a few seasons later. This works in opposition to many hit network shows, which tend to shed viewers over time after a huge premiere.
Ultimately, these ratings remain just a small piece of the overall puzzle in general, given that we are in a climate now where the majority of viewers finds a time to catch up on something after the fact. This is especially true for premium cable shows, given that if you can afford HBO, odds are you have streaming capabilities or a DVR to watch it.