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Starz made the wise choice to debut their new series Da Vinci's Demons immediately following the series finale of their popular historical fantasy drama Spartacus: War of the Damned, and based on the numbers from this weekend, it paid off for the pay cable channel in the ratings.
Spartacus and Da Vinci's Demons managed to bring in 4.8 million total viewers over multiple viewings during the course of the weekend. Deadline says that's a record weekend for Starz. And it's not the only good news for the network. David S. Goyer's Da Vinci's Demons debuted to an audience of 1.04 million viewers for its 10:00 p.m. airing. When factoring in additional airings over the course of the weekend, the new drama took in 2.14 million viewers, which puts it a little bit ahead of Camelot's premiere (2.09 million viewers), setting a new premiere record for a Starz original series.
The original airing of Spartacus: War of the Damned's finale at 9:00 p.m. brought in 1.43 million viewers. The series, which closed out its excellent run after three full seasons and one limited prequel season, earned. 2.7 million total viewers over the course of the weekend. WIth numbers like those, I'm thinking Starz will miss this show about as much as the fans will.
The Spartacus lead-in surely helped Da Vinci's Demons in its series premiere, and hopefully those fans of the gladiator drama will continue to tune in to Da Vinci's Demons when the series takes over Spartacus' old time slot at 9:00 p.m. on Friday nights, beginning this week. Both shows fall under the category of historical fantasy, in that they're period dramas loosely based on real people and events. They also share the Italian setting, but that's about where the similarities end. They're set in different centuries and tell very different stories. But as a fan of Spartacus and as someone who really enjoyed the first few episodes of Da Vinci's Demons, I'm as hopeful that the Starz series will see the same ratings success as its predecessor as I am that Da Vinci's Demons continues to be as great as its premiere.
Those who don't have Starz can still watch the series premiere of Da Vinci's Demons online. If you've seen it already, check out the preview for this Friday's "The Serpent" here.