HBO's Rome Gets Viewer Thumbs Up


Maybe Rome can be built in a day.

HBO’s epic drama, Rome, notched a 9.1 rating/13 share in HBO homes for its premiere episode Aug. 28. That made it the pay cable network’s highest rated program since the fourth season premiere of Six Feet Under in June, 2004.

Six Feet’s series finale the week before, however, earned more total viewers than Rome – 3.81 million to Rome’s 3.89 million.

HBO invested a hefty $100 million in the 12-episode season of Rome, a co-production with the BBC, and launched what the network called its biggest-ever campaign for viewers for a new series.

In June, HBO moved up the drama’s premiere date from Sept. – that way it debuted closer to a free preview the network is offering this weekend, which includes Rome’s first three episodes on HBO On Demand for all digital-cable customers.

As a result of the scheduling change, episode three will be available on demand before it runs on the linear network – a first for HBO.

New episodes of Rome will premiere Sunday at 9 p.m. after a re-run of the previous week’s episode at 8.

HBO will also schedule each of the first three episodes so they can be seen any day of the week on either HBO or spin-offs HBO2 and HBO Signature.

ABC could never generate much of an audience for its Rome drama, Empire, which failed even to beat repeats on the competition for its debut June 28.