CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Sunday's third season premiere of "Six Feet Under" attracted a 10.6 rating with 5.1 million viewers among HBO subscribers, according to Nielsen Media Research.
While that's a drop of 12% from its premiere last season (12.1 rating, 6.2 million viewers on Mar. 3, 2002) it's on par with its second season finale (10.7 rating on Jun. 2, 2002). "Six Feet Under" averaged a 11.0 rating in HBO homes for its 13 broadcasts last season.
That same night E!'s "The Anna Nicole Show" launched its second season to a disappointing 1.7 rating (1.8 million viewers), off almost 60% from its premiere last year (4.2 rating on Aug. 4, 2002). Nevertheless that 1.7 rating is more than triple E!'s prime-time average last week. New lead-out "The Michael Essany Show" didn't fare much better, with its debut scoring a 1.0 rating (1.1 million viewers) and losing over 40% of its lead-in.
HBO is available in 34 million homes according to Nielsen Media Research while E! lists its subscriber base at 79 million homes.