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TV Bulletin Board: (April 10)

Sunday's return of HBO's The Sopranos topped the weekly national cable ratings, but wasn't gangbusters compared to last year's curtain-raiser.

The award-showered mob drama drew 7.662 million viewers, says Nielsen Media Research. That's a significant drop from the 9.465 million who watched the March 12, 2006 opener, which ended with Tony getting gut-shot by a very confused Uncle Junior.

HBO's followup act, Entourage (No. 13), dropped to 3.765 million viewers in its latest season debut. Last year's post-Sopranos attraction, the new Big Love, lured 4.563 million viewers.

Airing opposite The Sopranos on Sunday night, the Discovery Channel's second hour of its Planet Earth series remained strong with 4.846 million viewers to rank 5th for the week in cable's universe.

ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball opener, featuring the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox, failed to crack cable's weekly top 40.