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Dwayne Johnson’s Ballers is HBO’s most-viewed comedy this decade

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HBO’s first season of Ballers is in the books, and it was a big one for the Dwayne Johnson-starring show. Over the course of 10 episodes, an average of 8.8 million viewers tuned in each week across platforms, according to HBO’s analysis of Nielsen data. The impressive number is third-best for all HBO comedies, not to mention the best of the decade.

Ballers‘ ratings place it below Hung and Sex and the City‘s averages of 9.3 million (in 2009) and 10.3 million, respectively. That it’s ranked so high doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given its early popularity. Ballers‘ premiere became HBO’s most watched comedy episode since Entourage‘s 2011 finale, in terms of “live plus same-day” viewing. From there, it quickly became apparent that the show was a hit, with Ballers being renewed for a second season after just three episodes.

Ballers follows a retired pro football player, Spencer Strasmore (Johnson), as he pursues a new career as a financial adviser after retiring from the NFL. Working with sports stars, he, his clients, and friends get into their fair share of trouble, whether that be thanks to partying, womanizing, or just generally scandalous behavior. The comedy is frequently likened to Entourage, which is fitting given that many of Ballers‘ producers and executive producers previously worked on the show.

The first season came to a close on Sunday, August 23 with Ballers struggling slightly in the face of stiff competition from the highly rated premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, AMC’s Walking Dead companion series. The Ballers finale averaged 1.43 viewers, according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day estimates,” which was a series low.

When Ballers returns for season two next year, we’ll see some changes. Arielle Kebbel, who plays reporter Tracy Legette, will be a series regular. No premiere date has been announced yet.

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