April 10, 2012

THE SKED: Showtime and Starz Not In a “Magic City”

More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem

Numbers continue to come in for this past weekend’s scripted cable premieres. The biggest disappointment came at Starz, with Friday’s official arrival of MAGIC CITY, an expensive and heavily-marketed dramatic series. Although the network has released a flood of numbers designed to make the show sound more successful than it was, the key figure is the 295,000 total viewers who watched Magic in its initial showing on Friday night. That’s less than half the number of viewers of Boss, which was the network’s previous lowest-rated recent original series premiere. By way of comparison, just about every episode of HBO’s flop Luck was watched by at least 500,000 total viewers in its initial airing. (And since, like Luck, Magic City can be expected to skew old with its period setting and middle-aged protagonists, it might come in even lower in 18-49s than Luck‘s sub-0.02 score.) Note, though, that Magic City has already received a 2d season renewal, so unless horses start dying on the set, none of this puts the series in any immediate danger.

Things were better, but not particularly exciting, over at Showtime on Sunday night. NURSE JACKIE‘s return fared best, with about 50,000 more viewers than last year’s premiere for a total of about 650,000 in its initial airing. THE BIG C came back with around 580,000 viewers, considerably less than last year’s premiere but in the range of typical episodes last season. THE BORGIAS was watched by about 600,000 people, marginally higher than Big C but below both its own initial season’s premiere and typical episodes.

All of these series had made their premiere episodes available via online and VOD prior to their official starts, and Starz had even aired the Magic City pilot as a “special preview” following the season finale of Spartcacus, so they may (or may not) bounce back as the season continues.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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."