Showtime’s hit series Dexter was the most pirated television show in 2011. The antics of the Miami Metro blood spatter analyst that moonlights as a vigilante serial killer narrowly edged out HBO’s Game of Thrones for the number one spot in Torrent Freak’s top 10 list of most pirated TV shows.
Dexter earned the top spot with over 3.6 million illegal downloads per single episode, just north of the 3.4 million mark for Game of Thrones. In fact, these top two shows have more illegal downloads than estimated US viewers. Dexter only had 2.2 million viewers while Game of Thrones had 3 million. The fact that both of these shows air on premium pay networks probably isn’t a coincidence. True Blood was the only other series to make the top 10 list that doesn't air on broadcast or standard cable.
The Big Bang Theory, House and How I Met Your Mother round out the top five, although each has substantially more TV viewers than illegal downloaders. TorrentFreaks comprised their list based on several sources including reports from all public BitTorrent trackers.
Despite the seemingly high number of downloaders, TV show pirating is actually on the decline thanks to alternate viewing sources like Netflix and Hulu in the US. In other countries like Australia and Europe, the demand for shows remains strong as those regions often have to wait a long time before US-based shows air locally.