'Wire' finale premiere seen by 1.1 million

The Baltimore Sun

The premiere of Sunday night's series finale of HBO's The Wire was seen by 1.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That represents about 4 percent of homes that subscribe to HBO - or less than 1 percent of the American TV audience.

By comparison, the June 10 finale of HBO's crime drama The Sopranos drew 11.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The cable channel's surfer series John from Cincinnati was seen by 1.2 million viewers Aug. 12 - the last night it aired before being canceled at the end of its first season.

HBO did not offer viewers the chance to see the finale of The Wire in advance of Sunday's premiere via On Demand as it had done with the previous nine episodes this season. So, the Sunday night audience is the most representative for any episode that had been measured this season by Nielsen.

According to HBO, another 700,000 viewers watched an 11 p.m. replay of the finale, making for a cumulative audience of 1.8 million viewers Sunday.

The final episode of Season 4, which was set in Baltimore schools, was seen by 1.9 million viewers, according to a spokesman for the cable channel. It aired only once on Dec. 10, 2006.

With the option of On Demand viewing, the series had been averaging about 1 million viewers a week this season for its Sunday night premieres on HBO. Subscribers can still see the finale via On Demand.

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