There was a lot of hype leading into HBO’s The Leftovers premiere. Damon Lindelof, the popular creator of Lost, is behind the new series, and the drama nabbed a cushy slot, premiering after True Blood’s latest episode. Still, it looks as if all of the hype may not have paid off, after all. On Monday, it was confirmed that after True Blood’s big lead-in, The Leftovers premiere audience shrunk by 42%.
The Leftovers premiere only brought in 1.8 million total viewers during its first airing on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET. According to THR, True Blood brought in 3.1 million total viewers at 9 p.m. ET. On the bright side, over the evening, The Leftovers managed a few more total viewers, eventually pulling in a total of 2.1 million viewers across the night.
Those numbers aren’t great, but they are also not as bad as they might seem. HBO’s programming often nabs more viewers as it goes along, since subscription cable lends itself to viewers watching at their leisure. Additionally, The Leftovers is very nearly on par with the early numbers Season 1 of True Detective brought in. That program premiered to 2.3 million total viewers. There’s no reason to think The Leftovers won’t continue to improve in the numbers, provided the next few episodes are as weird and compelling as the premiere HBO gave us.
The Leftovers at least has the critical thing down pat. Tom Perrotta’s novel turned Damon Lindelof’s TV series is a pretty serious endeavor, but it’s also an artful and intriguing one. It’s a show we noted might make your “sense of understanding” disappear, and it’s a show that leaves more questions than answers at the end of its pilot episode—a mystery element which should prove a great way to keep viewers coming back for more.
HBO is also trying a marketing scheme similar to the one employed by Showtime to get new fans to engage with content. In the past, Showtime has streamed episodes of Shameles, Episodes and House of Lies for free. Similarly, The Leftovers is currently available for people to watch free of charge. If you aren’t already an HBO or HBO Go subscriber but were considering reasons to try the channel, The Leftovers premiere might be a good place to start. You can catch the premiere over at Yahoo Screen.
If you already subscribe to HBO, you can catch new episodes of HBO’s The Leftovers on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET. Ten episodes have been ordered for the show’s first season.