True Detective Season Two Premiere Up From Last Year’s

Photo: HBO

Critics were mixed, but viewers seem inclined to give season two of True Detective a chance. HBO’s anthology series returned Sunday with an initial audience of 3.2 million same-day viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults under 50, according to Nielsen. While not as big as last spring’s season-one finale (3.5 million same-day), True D soared about 40 percent above its January 2014 series premiere (2.3 million viewers) and was easily the biggest show on cable Sunday. (It was a lightweight, however, compared to ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud, which attracted a whopping 8.7 million viewers at 8 p.m. the same night.) Perhaps even more encouraging for HBO: The very strong early numbers for the debut of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s new comedy Ballers. The NFL-themed half-hour scored 2.2 million same-day viewers for its initial play and held on to 80 percent of the under-50 ratings for True D, and also appears to be the most-watched debut for an HBO comedy since the 2009 launch of Hung. Viewers also sampled new 10:30 p.m. comedy The Brink, which opened with 1.6 million same-day viewers. It’s worth noting that all of these numbers are just a snapshot of the actual audience for these shows: Once viewership from HBO Go, HBO Now, DVR replays, and same-week reruns are tallied, it’s likely all three shows will end up with an audience two to three times the size reported here.