HBO got a nice surprise Sunday night when “Boardwalk Empire” premiered to better-than-expected ratings–and HBO responded with a quick order for a second season. according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The show’s premiere was the pay cable net’s most-watched premiere for any show in six years–since the premiere of “Deadwood” in 2004, the story adds.
The premiere episode was watched by a combined 7.1 million viewers, the story reports, including two repeat airings.
“All the ingredients aligned for this one, from Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson’s initial pitch, to Martin Scorsese’s enormous contributions as director and executive producer, to the genius of Terry Winter and the expertise of Tim Van Patten, to a stellar cast led by Steve Buscemi,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said in a statement.
The show has been a major hit with critics, but many experts predicted a modest turnout among viewers, in part because of the series’ 1920s setting, the story adds.
Likewise, some other observers told TVWeek that they were not surprised by the opening numbers giving the "terrific" job HBO did in marketing the premiere, but that they also would not be surprised if the numbers dropped for subsequent episodes.