July 3, 2012



We speculated yesterday that HBO might have carefully timed its renewal of THE NEWSROOM not to coincide with the show’s Episode 2 ratings, and we may have been right.

HBO:  The Newsroom took a substantial hit from its premiere, down about 350,000 viewers (over 20%) and significantly older than it had been, with a 0.7 18-49 rating that was down 30% from last week.  This means about 55% of the audience was under 50 (last week it was around 63%).  Compare that with the also-renewed TRUE BLOOD, Newsroom‘s lead-in and the highest rated show on cable Sunday night other than the BET AWARDS.  Blood was watched by 4.5M people with a 2.6 rating in 18-49s, meaning that more than 75% of its audience was under 50.  As always, HBO’s business model isn’t based on the number of eyeballs watching, let alone their age, but if Newsroom continues to sink (and this week’s episode was unlikely to please viewers still on the fence about the show), things could get ugly quickly.  (Cough, Luck, cough.)

SHOWTIME:  WEEDS and EPISODES made their season debuts underwhelmingly. Weeds was watched by about 800,000 people, of whom about 2/3 were under 50.  That was down about 400,000 viewers and 250,000 under 50s from last year’s premiere, although it was steady with the way the rest of last season performed.  Episodes was watched by under 500,000 viewers, about 300,000 of them under 50.  As with Weeds, that was considerably lower than last year’s series premiere, but in line with other episodes last season.

TNT:  FALLING SKIES was down around 10% from last week, about half its audience under 50 for a 1.2.  On the unscripted front, THE GREAT ESCAPE held even with last week’s premiere in 18-49s at 0.6, down around 10% in total audience.

LIFETIME:  ARMY WIVES was down about 10% from last week, with 40% of its viewers under 50, and DROP DEAD DIVA held about even.

A&E:  LONGMIRE and THE GLADES both took hits from last week, down around 500,000 viewers, but Longmire remained the geezer show of the night, with less than 30% of its audience under 50.

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."