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The numbers are in for Sunday night's Season 7 premiere of True Blood, and it looks like the final season's premiere has come out ahead of the Season 6 premiere, at least when factoring in the gross audience for Sunday night's episode, "Jesus Gonna Be Here." Total viewers are up 3% from the Season 6 premiere episode ("Who Are You, Really?") that aired June 16 of last year.
SPOILER ALERT: Season 7 premiere episode spoilers ahead!
True Blood returned with a bang on Sunday night, killing off a main character and putting numerous other supporting characters in danger. According to HBO's information, a gross audience of 5.8 million viewers tuned in for the Season 7 premiere episode across the four airings on Sunday night. Broken down, the 9:00 p.m. (first) airing brought in 4 million viewers, with another 1 million, 498,000 and 262,000 added at 10:00 p.m., 11:30 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., respectively.
While total viewership may be up a shade from last season's premiere (total viewers 5.6 million), the 4 million viewers that tuned in for the original airing of last Sunday's premiere episode are down from the 4.52 million that tuned in last year for the original airing of the Season 6 premiere. Looking down the list of viewers in millions from one episode to the next over the course of the series, it seems like True Blood's ratings peaked around Season 4. I'd be curious to know what the full viewership is when factoring in On Demand and HBO Go viewership, as it's possible that at least some fans are relying less on Sunday night's airing as they are on streaming to stay caught up.
As mentioned, True Blood's Season 7 premiere saw the demise of a lead character. Rutina Wesley's character Tara met her demise not long into the episode, and the actor has since confirmed that Tara is indeed dead (for real this time), though it sounds like there's a chance we might see her again in some form or another. In the meantime, the True Blood's Facebook page invites fans to pay tribute to the fallen vampire...
RIP Tara. And there are other characters whose lives are on the line, as last Sunday's episode had Arlene, Nicole and Holly taken prisoner by a bunch of hungry H-Vamps. Will they be rescued in time?
True Blood airs Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.