May 1, 2012



An off-night if you didn’t have Thrones in your title.
HBO:  GAME OF THRONES, airing an episode that started with a gasp-inducing surprise death (one less potential king for Westeros), was the highest-rated show on cable TV Sunday night, even beating the NBA Playoffs on TNT (although Thrones was over when the Clippers launched their miracle 4th quarter comeback).  Despite the competition, Thrones was up 0.1 to a 1.9.  (We should note, though, that if a 0.1 ratings shift is generally meaningless, that’s even more so on cable, and quaduply so on pay-cable, where the number of Nielsen watchers causing such a change would fit in a small elevator.)  VEEP, newly renewed for a 2d season and coming off its much-hyped premiere, fell a bit to 0.5, while GIRLS, with another uncomfortably hilarious episode (and also a Season 2 renewal), was rock-solid in its 3rd airing with the same 0.4 it’s had since the show started.

AMC:  Perhaps the sheer concentration it takes to watch this season’s difficult, often disturbing, jewel-like episodes of MAD MEN is taking a toll.  (Although this week also featured perhaps the ultimate Roger Sterling quip:  “For all we know, Jesus may have been going after the loaves and fishes account.”)  In any case, the show took a hit this week, down to a 0.7.  THE KILLING, so in love with its red herrings and existential angst that it’s starting to resemble an Antonioni movie (and not in a good way) was also down, to a 0.4.
LIFETIME:  For a show that’s supposedly easing its way to retirement, ARMY WIVES is acting very much like a series transitioning to Version 2.0, with more screen time spent on plot involving supposed guest stars than the show’s main characters.  Although down a bit from last week from 1.1 to 0.9, it and THE CLIENT LIST remained a potent and extremely compatible combination.  
SHOWTIME:  Technically, the Sunday trio of NURSE JACKIE (with a nice guest spot for Rosie Perez), THE BIG C (more Susan Sarandon) and THE BORGIAS were all slightly up from last week, but since none of them moved more than 0.04 from the previous week, and at that level, a couple of people with headaches or cancelled dinners can change the numbers, they’re essentially even. 
STARZ:   This is from Friday rather than Sunday, but MAGIC CITY continues to be barely watched, with combined 18-49 ratings for its 10PM and 11PM airings that only reached 0.26.  The show itself is gorgeously shot and well acted, but slow and only moderately interesting dramatically. 

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."