After a two-year hiatus, “Veep” finally returned for its seventh and final season on Sunday, but fewer viewers tuned in compared to its Season 6 bow.
“Veep’s” Season 7 premiere — which kicked off Selina Meyer’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) second (or fourth, if you’re keeping track) run at the White House — averaged 546,000 viewers for its first-run airing at 10:30 p.m. ET. That was down 17 percent from the 659,000 that tuned in in April 2017 to kick off Season 6, but were ahead (1.9 percent) of that season’s finale, which drew 536,000 viewers.
When adding a replay airing and one night of digital streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now, that number increased to 831,000 viewers.
Before “Veep,” HBO debuted the sophomore season of Bill Hader’s black comedy “Barry” to 532,000 viewers at 10 p.m. ET. That was down 5.6 percent from the 564,000 that watched the series premiere of “Barry” last year, and down 3 percent from the season 1 finale (548,000). An additional replay and digital streaming upped the total to 746,000 viewers.
The final season of “Veep” will have seven episodes, the least for any season. Season 7 was delayed after Louis-Dreyfus was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, and production resumed last October. Louis-Dreyfus has won the Emmy six years in a row for the role. The show itself won the Outstanding Comedy Series award in 2016 and 2017.
Both “Veep” and “Barry” will get a boost in a few weeks when “Game of Thrones” returns from its own nearly two-year hiatus on April 14 for its eight and final season.