October 12, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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While Showtime’s had success with original Monday night programming like Weeds and Nurse Jackie, HBO has had a harder time when it strays from its Sunday base. (Remember when they tried moving the final season of Six Feet Under to Mondays, and then had to move it back a few weeks later?)  Last night, the network tried to launch the night again, with the return of BORED TO DEATH and the debut of  ENLIGHTENED.  The results weren’t pretty.

Vulture reports that Bored was watched by a mere 240,000 people in its initial airing on Monday (by way of comparison, Boardwalk Empire had a viewership of almost 3 million people the night before, and even Hung, which is far from being one of the network’s signature hits, was watched by about 1 million people).  With that lead-in, Enlightened fared even worse, with only 210,000 viewers.  HBO, of course is in the “buzz” business and that’s not necessarily the same as the “ratings” business, as celebrated shows like The Wire and Treme have been happy to find.  But even by HBO’s standards, if a show airs in the forest and no one there is watching TV, that’s not going to make much of a buzz.  Neither show has to worry about being yanked from the schedule, even if they decline next week (which, absent the premiere marketing campaign, they probably will)–that’s not the HBO way.  But the prospect of additional orders seems dim at this point.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."