The ratings are in for this week's Series 7 finale of “True Blood," confirming the show's status as one of HBO's biggest triumphs. The show’s legion of loyal vampire-loving fans helped “True Blood” go out on a high note Sunday with its seventh and final season, pulling an impressive 4.5 million viewers between its original and encore premiere night viewings. The drama has joined an elite club of HBO shows that have lasted as long with as sustained success. How does “True Blood’s” finale performance compare to the curtain calls of other landmark HBO programs?
The series finale was also a season high ratings peak for “True Blood,” although the series reached its zenith back in Season 3 when it averaged 13 million viewers across all airings and platforms. However, it is rare for a series to go out “on top” and impressive none the less for “True Blood” to still have hit such high numbers in its final season within an increasingly competitive and diverse field of shows.
However, a couple iconic HBO series have made a much bigger splash with their goodbyes. “The Sopranos,” what many consider to be maybe the best television show ever made, brought in a whopping 11.9 million people for its controversial Jun. 2007 finale. A few years before, the very popular “Sex and the City” ending almost equaled those numbers, reaching 10.6 million viewers with its Feb. 2004 finale. However, both of these finales came before the basic cable drama explosion spearheaded by AMC with “Mad Men” and also the dawn of streaming and DVR, which without a doubt cut into premiere night ratings.
“True Blood” may have only hit 4.5 million premiere night viewers, but still averaged almost 10 million viewers when combining all air times, streaming, and DVR. That’s an advantage “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City” did not have and an important distinction.
Even without multiple platforms, though, the “True Blood” finale’s premiere night numbers best the “Entourage” finale (3.1 million viewers), “The Wire” finale (the other “best television show ever”), which rated at less than a million viewers for much of its final season, and even the last episode of the most talked about HBO show of 2014, “True Detective” (3.5 million viewers). Not bad considering “True Blood” went up against both the “MTV Music Video Awards” and “Sunday Night Football” during its finale premiere.
By any measure, “True Blood’s” finale, as well as the series in general, was an overwhelming success for HBO. When the across-all-platforms numbers come in later this week, they should only bolster the show’s claim as a premium cable blockbuster. “True Blood” may have taken its last bite, but it was a deep one.
Did you watch the “True Blood” finale? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.