Last season, HBO's True Blood was the unquestionable scripted ratings champion on cable when it came to adults 18-49, an impressive feat when you consider that HBO is only in around 28 percent of the homes in the United States. Most of the bigger basic cable networks are available in more than 85 percent of the homes in the U.S.
The initial 9:02p airing of the second season finale of True Blood on Sunday September 13 had a 2.9 rating with adults 18-49 and averaged 5 million viewers.
The second season premiere last June 14 averaged 3.7 million viewers and a 2.0 rating with adults 18-49, so even over the course of the season the initial telecast became more "must see" viewing.
My guess is that the season 3 premiere will outperform the season two premiere, but underperform the finale. I'm going with 4.3 million and a 2.4 adults 18-49 rating.
Below, HBO makes fun of its marketing efforts.