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The fourth season of True Detective opened to decent viewing on HBO Sunday, a day otherwise dominated by two NFL playoff games — including one that may hit a multi-year high for the wild card round on Fox.
The Alaska-set True Detective: Night Country, starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis, delivered 2 million viewers across HBO’s linear channel (including replays) and Max on Sunday. That’s comparable to the season three premiere four years ago, which drew 2.3 million viewers for its first night. One likely difference: Whereas the season three opener got more than half of its first-night total (1.32 million viewers) from the first on-air showing — Max, née HBO Max, didn’t yet exist — the majority of Night Country viewers likely came via the streaming platform. (A breakdown of linear vs. streaming viewing wasn’t immediately available, but other HBO series typically get most of their viewing via Max.)
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The Sunday viewership for Night Country falls in between first-night figures the most recent season premieres of The White Lotus (1.5 million viewers) and Euphoria (2.4 million).
On the broadcast networks Sunday, Fox’s NFL wild card game stands at 40 million viewers, according to early ratings. If that figure holds, it will be the network’s biggest audience for the opening round of the playoffs since 2015. Only three other wild card games in the past decade — Fox’s 2014 (47.1 million viewers) and 2015 (42.3 million) broadcasts and a CBS/Nickelodeon telecast in 2022 (41.5 million) — have hit the 40 million mark. Ratings before 2020 also do not include out of home viewing.
Ratings for Sunday’s primetime NFL matchup on NBC weren’t available at publication time; the past three wild card games in the same broadcast window averaged 26.86 million viewers (not including streaming). NBC Sports also set a streaming record with 23 million viewers for its Peacock-exclusive game Saturday night and drew 29 million viewers across all platforms for an NBC/Telemundo/Peacock telecast earlier that day.
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