Da Vinci's Demons Season 2 debutStarz‘s fantasy drama learned the hard way last weekend just how important a lead-in can be. With the 2013 pic White House Down playing beforehand, the Season 2 premiere of Da Vinci’s Demons fell 44% from its Season 1 debut last year. The Saturday night 9 PM airing on March 22 had 580,000 total viewers. Having the series finale of Spartacus: War Of The Damned as its lead-in, the Season 1 premiere pulled in 1.04 million total viewers in its 10 PM airing on on Friday, April 12. The news for the David S. Goyer-created series’ Season 2 debut gets a lot better when all its plays over the whole weekend are Starz logo 2014counted up. The Adjacent Productions show drew 2 million viewers over all its broadcasts last weekend. That’s just a 6% dip from the 2.14 million that Demons had over its Season 1 debut weekend last year. It’s also a 41% rise over the show’s Season 1 finale weekend in early June. The total plays for that weekend were 1.4 million. On its own, the Season 1 finale at 10PM on June 7 garnered 380,000 viewers – 34% fewer than the Season 2 debut. With Season 1 of the show getting an average audience of 1.6 million over its weekend airings, the Season 2 debut weekend was up 25%.

Da Vinci’s Demons is produced by Adjacent as the first project under a multi-year agreement that Starz and BBC Worldwide Productions entered into in August 2011. The lush drama depicts the action-filled early life of Leonardo Da Vinci, with British actor Tom Riley playing the legendary inventor and artist. The series was picked up for a second season on April 17 just after its debut.

Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.