DVR numbers for the premiere episode of The Bastard Executioner must have been a pleasant surprise for the FX network. The series’ launch was already strong based on Live+Same Day numbers, but expanding to the Live+3 time frame yielded much more exciting results. In fact, the new numbers showed that the audience grew by 71 percent, according to Deadline, from 2.11 million to 3.61 million.
The two-hour season premiere, which aired on Sept. 15, did particularly well in the adults 18-49 category (1.79 million viewers), which makes sense given that it’s a gory and dramatic show that has been likened to HBO’s massive hit Game of Thrones. It also comes from Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy, which has historically also attracted this key adult demo. (The series finale, for example, drew in 4.215 million viewers 18-49, according to TV by the Numbers.)
Set in the 14th century, The Bastard Executioner follows a warrior-turned-executioner (played by Lee Jones) who is grappling with a vow to lay down his sword. The current season will span 10 episodes and even feature British pop star Ed Sheeran in a recurring role as a trouble-causing knight. The series also stars Sons of Anarchy alum Katey Sagal, Stephen Moyer, and Flora Spencer-Longhurst.
Compared to other new basic cable drama series, The Bastard Executioner‘s inaugural episode comes in third place overall. It was outperformed only by two shows: Better Call Saul and Fear the Walking Dead. There’s no shame in third place, though, especially considering that those two AMC series are spin-offs with preexisting audiences. As a companion series to The Walking Dead, it wasn’t shocking that Fear the Walking Dead managed to set a record for the highest rated basic cable premiere ever.
The Bastard Executioner looks set to continue to draw in its own audiences, whether or not they tune in live. The show airs on FX on Tuesdays at 10:00 EST.