Showtime Rookies ‘Shameless’ & ‘Episodes’ Start Out Strong

The John Wells-produced show was the cable network’s biggest drama series premiere in seven years

Last Updated: January 10, 2011 @ 3:01 PM

After launching two new series last night, Showtime had nothing to be ashamed about when the ratings came in on Monday.

The series debut of "Shameless" was the network's biggest drama series premiere in seven years, besting the previous record holder, "Dead Like Me," along with the premieres of other Showtime dramas, including "Dexter," "The Tudors" and "The L Word."

The show brought garnered 982,000 total viewers at 10 p.m. and was watched by 1.3 million for the night.

The fourth season premiere of "Californication" delivered the series' best season premiere ever last night, drawing 848.000 viewers at 9 p.m. (1.12 million total for the night) without the benefit of its typical lead-in, "Dexter."

"Californication" is a DVR and VOD favorite, as nearly 70% of its weekly viewing occurs after its original airing on Sunday night.

As for Showtime's other new series, the Matt LaBlanc-starrer "Episodes," the show retained 91% of its "Californication" audience at 9:30 p.m., attracting 768,000 viewers (902,000 for the night), which is a solid showing for such a tricky sell.