Watchmen Premiere Delivers Huge Numbers for HBO

On Sunday, fans were treated to the long-awaited debut of HBO's Watchmen, the latest live-action television series from the premium cable network. The series, which serves as a sequel of sorts to the iconic DC Comics story, has certainly taken some risks -- and it looks like they paid off. According to a new report from Deadline, the pilot episode of Watchmen courted 1.5 million viewers across all of HBO's platforms. The ratings mark the strongest debut for a series on HBO's digital services since Westworld made its debut in 2016.

The initial telecast of the episode reportedly averaged 800,000 viewers, making it the most-watched new series to debut on premium cable this year. It also was up 21% from the Succession season finale, which aired in the same time slot the week before.

Watchmen takes place in an alternate history established by the graphic novel, in which costumed superheroes are outlawed and members of the police hide behind masks. The pilot episode followed Angela Abar (Regina King) and Judd Crawford (Don Johnson), a police detective and captain who investigate an attack from a white supremacist group.

“Damon Lindeloff has a very specific approach to that material,” production designer Mark Worthington told ComicBook.com last month. “I can't tell you what that approach is. What I can say is we are guided more by that than anything else. Damon is a geek, too. He was obsessed with the Watchmen series as a kid. I think we all were. That was a watershed graphic novel for the whole form, as we all know. You're inspired by all of it. There it is. There's the original object and it's what you get excited about, passionate about it. I think Damon's take will be different, is different. It inherently has the DNA of the original Watchmen with a very specific take that he will put on it."

“Yes, of course, we're inspired by the original." Worthington continued. "Yes, of course, we're respectful of what that meant and what it is as an object. But then Damon has his own way of extending that and taking it to a new place because he's not redoing it, he's creating something that's other than that. I don't know. We'll see how people respond. I think people are going to like it.”

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Watchmen airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.