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HBO's 'True Blood' has a lot of bite

June 15, 2010 |  9:01 am


HBO's racy vampire drama "True Blood" got off to a strong start Sunday night, with 5.1 million viewers watching the season premiere.

That's a jump of almost 40% from the 3.7 million viewers who watched the Season Two premiere. Overall, the second season of "True Blood" averaged 4.3 million viewers, meaning that Season Three is already up about 20% in viewers from where Season Two left off.

For Time Warner's HBO, "True Blood" has become one of the pay TV channel's biggest successes since its glory days of "The Sopranos" and "Sex and the City." While "True Blood" has not hit the numbers those shows had at their peaks, the DVD sales have been strong. The show has not been sold into reruns yet. Although it might seem that the heavy sex and violence that fills most episodes could make it a tough sell on a commercial outlet, many of the cable networks that would likely be interested in reruns of the show already carry some fairly adult content.

While the content might not be an issue, the recent performance of some HBO shows in reruns might be a concern to potential buyers. "The Sopranos" did not perform well for A&E while "Entourage" has not set the world on fire for Spike TV.

Later this month, HBO's comedies "Entourage" and "Hung" return. While "Entourage" is established, "Hung" may need to show some staying power in its second season.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: HBO's "True Blood." Credit: John P. Johnson.