‘Boardwalk Empire’ is HBO’s Biggest Series Debut Since 2004

The network’s prohibition-era crime drama was its most-watched series premiere since “Deadwood”

Nucky Thompson made a grand entrance on HBO Sunday night. The premiere of "Boardwalk Empire," HBO's big budget drama about the fictionalized Jazz Age gangster was watched by 4.8 million viewers Sunday night at 9 p.m. 

"Boardwalk Empire," which stars Steve Buscemi as Thompson, was HBO's top-rated series premiere since "Deadwood" in 2004. "Deadwood" had the benefit of a lead-in from "The Sopranos," but "Boardwalk Empire" anchored Sunday's lineup for the network.

"True Blood" still stands as HBO's top series. "Boardwalk's" debut numbers were off six percent from the season three kickoff of the vampire drama, which aired June 13. "True Blood" debuted in September 2008 to an audience of 1.4 million viewers. With its record start, "Boardwalk" seems well-positioned to become HBO's new flagship. 

Update (10:47 a.m.): HBO renewed "Boardwalk Empire" on Tuesday.