Last night was a huge night for network premieres. Everything from CBS’ critically acclaimed drama The Good Wife, to the wildly popular The Amazing Race (also CBS), to ABC’s sudsy thriller Revenge premiered on Sunday. With so much to watch on the regular networks, it is difficult to believe a subscription cable channel could compete. Compete Showtime did with a premiere lineup featuring a network staple and another critically acclaimed endeavor. Both Homeland and Dexter began airing last night, and both brought in good numbers for the network.

Dexter’s Season 7 premiere crushed on Sunday, bringing in 2.4 million viewers during the episode’s initial run and more than 3 million for the night total. While 3 million isn’t a ton when stacked up against a show like The Mentalist, it’s a lot for Showtime. In fact, according to TV Line, last night’s episode ranked as the Showtime’s highest rated telecast in 2012. The Season 7 premiere also did 10% better than the Season 6 opener. As a viewer who dropped Dexter about two seasons ago, and who knows other viewers who have dropped the show, those numbers are pretty incredible. I wonder if Showtime has picked up some new subscribers or if people are now watching the drama alongside Homeland?

Speaking of Homeland, the drama also did well on Sunday, bringing in 1.73 million viewers and over 2 million for the night. Likely boosted by all of the show’s Emmy wins, the Season 2 premiere was up 60% from its Season 1 premiere. Last night was Showtime’s best ratings night, ever. Now, if only some other subscription network underdogs (aka Boss) could get the same sort of love.

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