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Mob-less HBO Suffers On Sunday
by Andrew Wallenstein, The Hollywood Reporter (June 16, 2004)

'Under' bow, 'Deadwood' finale below expectations.

Without "The Sopranos," HBO saw a smaller audience Sunday with the season premiere of "Six Feet Under" and freshman-season finale of "Deadwood."

"Under" kicked off its fourth season with 4.2 million total viewers in the 9 p.m. time slot previously occupied by "Sopranos," which drew 11 million to last week's season finale (HR 6/9).

Although the third-season premiere of "Under" did better, reaching 5.1 million, that figure was not adjusted for the new rating measurement for HBO imposed in January by Nielsen Media Research that separates viewership figures for the primary feed from its multiplexed spinoffs (HR 12/23).

Without "Sopranos" as a lead-in, the "Deadwood" season finale suffered. It drew 3.2 million, significantly down from its full-season average of 4.5 million. That tally gives it the second-highest-rated rookie season for an HBO series behind only "Under," outpacing freshman figures for "Sopranos," "Sex and the City" and "Carnivale."

Elsewhere in cable, there is still life left in USA Network's "The Dead Zone," which premiered its third season last week to a disappointing 2.6 million (the second-season premiere notched 4.1 million). Its second outing at 10 p.m. Sunday perked up, climbing to 2.9 million.