HBO’s hot new anthology drama True Detective opened solid in the ratings Sunday night, while comedy Girls returned to a series-high audience. Despite facing the Golden Globe Awards, HBO’s freshman drama debut had 2.3 million viewers — the biggest HBO series opening since Boardwalk Empire in 2010, and just barely edging out the series premiere of Game of Thrones from 2011.
True Detective‘s first replay added another million viewers to the tally. True Detective stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as Louisiana detectives hunting a serial killer. Meanwhile Girls returned to a series-high 1.1 million viewers, up 28 percent from the season 2 debut. Guess that TCA question #ragespiral fight about Lena Dunham’s nudity didn’t hurt the show’s popularity (and might have even helped).
Though it might seem odd to launch a sophisticated premium drama like True Detective against an event like the Globes, the awards show draws fewer viewers than a major prime-time football game — which is what HBO faces most weeks this time of year. Also, True Detective feels like a show that’s likely to grow even more in the coming weeks.