April 17, 2012



GIRLS doesn’t earn an HBO throne.
HBOGIRLS received largely rhapsodic reviews, and those are critically important at HBO–if the show’s quality stays strong, it could easily be in line for Best Comedy Emmy consideration–which should ensure that it sticks around.  But on a ratings level, the show was meant to be a demographic play for a younger audience than the network’s weighty prestige dramas usually draw, and the 0.4 it scored in its premiere in 18-49s (considerably below the 0.6 for its lead-in, the season finale of EASTBOUND & DOWN, let alone GAME OF THRONES) had to be a disappointment.  As for Thrones, which had another thrilling (Arya thinks on her feet and saves the dead king’s bastard son), clever (Tyrion finds the traitor in the Small Council) and complicated (more new characters!) episode, it was down modestly to 1.8, still remarkable considering that HBO has subscribers in only 25% of US households.

LIFETIME:  When network executives go out to celebrate the success of THE CLIENT LIST, just where do they hold the party?  Client actually managed to outrate ARMY WIVES in 18-49s, 1.0 to 0.9, on a slightly lower total viewer number, which means it’s delivering exactly as Lifetime could have hoped.
AMC:  Another reminder that MAD MEN is still the best show on television, not quite as conceptually remarkable as last week’s horror movie-influenced hour, but featuring a bare-knuckle bout between Lane and Pete that was for the ages.  It held at 1.0, which is, despite all the accolades, that show’s level of rating–yes, tied with The Client List, for whatever that says about American TV audiences.  And one has to admit that despite another dreary, seemingly pointless hour, THE KILLING is holding as well, locked at a 0.6 that might be good enough to keep the series going even after we know who killed Rosie Larsen.
SHOWTIME:  The network’s Sunday slate was down modestly from the previous week’s line-up of season premieres.  NURSE JACKIE, which is so far having a very strong season centering on Jackie in rehab, declined from 0.27 to 0.22, while THE BIG C, less impressive with early episodes that emphasize the silly, fell more heavily from 0.23 to 0.16  THE BORGIAS was steadier, slipping from 0.23 to 0.20.


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."